Imagine it – sitting in a comfy chair, surrounded by good books, sipping on something special from a balloon glass.
Of course, in the real world it would inevitably attract undesirables and you’d end up sharing your cosy couch with teetotallers, conspiracy theorists and genealogists. Uegh!
But a Chicagoan in Christchurch has taken the vision, improved it and made it work. Mostly by getting rid of the books, but the beer’s there and that’s what’s important. It’s called The Beer Library.
Garth Peterson had been homebrewing in Chicago and studied at the highly-respected Siebel Institue. He was planning on working in brewing when his wife was accepted as a PhD candidate at the University of Canterbury.
“I originally was going to open a brewery when I moved to Christchurch. But there are 22 or so breweries here and I thought, being new to the country, doing something a little less capital-intensive might be the way to go.”
The Beer Library is a specialist beer retailer. Its beers cover the range from local small brewers, other New Zealanders, and imports, especially those coming through Beertique and Beer Without Borders.
“IPAs are very, very popular. It’s about 40% of my sales, which is crazy. Pilsners are popular. It’s a good mix – we get people who are into the latest, greatest thing and we get people who want their regular thing. I’ve had people who went to Belgium 20 years ago they they’ve been looking for their Chimay or whatever ever since.
“I’d love to see some more Belgian styles, they can be interesting and a good alternative to an IPA. Sours seem to be chugging along, there’s quite a few in stock here. Some of the brewers are still trying to learn how to do it, but some like Soren [Eriksen, 8 Wired] are making some very nice ones now. Emerson’s Dinner Table is very nice, the Flanders Red is right up there with any red from Belgium, and he’s brewing sours the long, slow way as well. Craft Work/Choice Bros Autobarn was very nice too.”
UPDATE – Beertown.NZ visited Garth before the Valentine’s Day aftershock, and he reports damage was limited to a handful of bottles and glasses. “We’ve started stocking Croucher’s new coffee beans and, as a coffee fanatic, I’m pretty excited about it.”
- Store – 363 Colombo St, Sydenham, Christchurch. Open daily 10am-7pm
- Webstore – thebeerlibrary.vendecommerce.com
- How many beers available – about 350 different beers available in bottles, plus five FYO taps
- How many books available – go to the library. Garth might lend you Moby Dick if you ask nicely. The whale dies though.