From Our Editors
After being unimpressed with the beer knowledge of a liquor store's staff, Pat Lafferty was struck by an idea: why not start a beer boutique? Instead of just slinging randomly selected six-packs, why not hire beer experts with the same depth of knowledge that had become the norm in wine shops?
This flash of inspiration soon took the form of the Malt Shoppe. Here, customers mingle with the store's self-styled beer sherpas, expert staffers who are all Cicerone Program Certified Beer Servers and somehow manage to do their jobs without GPS assistance. Through friendly chats, thee sherpas pass on their enthusiasm for each beer in the store. However, their knowledge doesn't come from simply memorizing a list; the constantly changing selection of ales, lagers, and more rotates to include obscure regional brews, seasonal styles, and even rare limited releases. Every beer in the retail section comes as a single, putting an emphasis on sampling and discovery. Guests can even sip while they shop, filling up a glass from a growler area with over 30 taps.