Combinatory Explosion, or Why I Hate the Beer Distributor

I would not say I am a beer sommelier, though if given the opportunity I would certainly like to be one. I do however love good beer and can describe, to a lay person at least, the differences in flavors across a given selection. When I go out, I make it my purpose to order what I haven’t had before, preferably on draft. This makes my selection very easy. I typically drop off from possibilities all American Piss Beer and am left with choosing between three and five choices. If I like the beer I ordered, second round here I come. If not, I can always try something else.
This does not work at the beer distributor though. Enter Combinatorial Explosion. I don’t have the option of a draft over bottle. Choose a beer I don’t like and I am stuck with a case so I tend to stick more with what I know. Walk to the Porters, Lagers, and Stouts, and I have too many choices. Easily over a dozen options of each, I want something new or different but I don’t want to give up my tried and trues. Making a decision is tough. Each time I decide on one beer I feel like I am letting another down. Too many choices cause indecision and its difficult to know what to take. Finally deciding on one, I always feel a yearning for another option as I, in my mind, look back with a ‘next time’ feeling in my head.
Now there are two solutions for this. The first, and ridiculous of the two, is to only sell a few beers of each make. This is of course not economically viable. Instead, I suggest distributors limit the selection the same way they do with wine. Give me a ‘chef’s choice’, even if its just the preference of the guy unloading the truck. If this rotates monthly (more often at the distributor is not my problem) I can choose the showcased porter, lager or stout and my selection of over 30 (10 each) is now brought to three. I leave happy, the distributor is happy, an my mind has been duped to making a selection.

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