Give credit San Jose’s Willow Glen Business Association for coming up with a bright idea, the Downtown Willow Glen Beer Walk. For thirty-five bucks, they give you a tasting glass and map of downtown Willow Glen indicating where no fewer than 26 business were pouring various beers to taste between 2 and 6 pm last Saturday afternoon. The idea of course, is to get new customers to walk into stores they might not otherwise go into in search of beer. And just maybe as each beer walker contemplates the malt-hop balance of the latest California IPA amidst shelves of, say beauty products, they might see something they like and buy it.
And I have to say it worked. My wife and I ventured into plenty of new stores during the Beer Walk and let’s just say we bought a few things. And while each pouring location is indicated and the entire brewery list is provided, the actual location were each brewery is pouring is cleverly left to be discovered by each participant on the beer walk. So it was with great suspense as we entered a Hair Salon or Clothing Boutique, looking to see what beer awaited us. I often exclaimed things like “Cool! They’re pouring Firestone-Walker here!” as we walked into realty office once the mystery beer became apparent. We found this unlikely beer festival to be a blast, arguably the most fun we’ve ever had at a tasting event due to its off-beat and unpredictable nature.
And while this may have been a good marketing idea for Downtown Willow Glen, I suspect a number of proprietors hadn’t figured on a bunch of very tipsy beer walkers clogging their stores during the last hour of the beer walk, stumbling around with little interest in buying merchandise to the chagrin of the non-beer walking customers who probably wished they had chosen a different time to do their shopping. As you can see from the photos, I had plenty of goofy fun with my iPhone taking pictures of my tasting glass in unlikely locations. Hope you enjoy my photographic artistry!