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Breaking Bikers In To Good Beer

Since June 2013, I’ve been working full-time at a Harley-Davidson dealership in the Boston metro area in the events/marketing department. Basically, I throw parties for bikers.

(Five years ago, if you told me I’d be living in Boston, writing about beer, and working at Harley-Davidson…I would have moved out of Detroit a hell of a lot sooner! But I digress…)

As a lover of craft beer, I saw an opportunity to slowly introduce quality New England beers to our customers. I’d sneak in a few craftier options alongside Miller Lite at the beer table. The reaction was less than stellar: Long Trail IPA – nope. Allagash White – didn’t touch it. Harpoon UFO – hardly noticed it. And when I got really fancy and brought in Rising Tide’s Hefeweizen, I heard grumbles from the crowd, “Where’s the Bud Light?” *face palm*.

Granted, the majority of our customer base is aged 45 and up and are pretty hardcore set in their ways. Fine. But my co-workers, my comrades, I refuse to give up on. They can still be saved.

To my surprise and delight, 4 or 5 out of the 60 + employees working at the dealership are already active beer nerds. A couple of them willingly went to Sunset Grill & Tap with me for a crash course in beer 101 – the brewing process, the difference between ales and lagers, souring agents, barrel-aging…me, becoming less coherent with every pint. But the others…I’ve got work to do.

Last week I brought in a few mixed cases of Jack’s Abby to some of the guys wrenching on bikes in the service department. In my opinion it’s really the only genuine way to say thanks for scrubbing out that moldy cooler for me, or spraying the hornet’s nest in the shed, or fixing that broken tent pole. The cases included: Smoke and Dagger, Copper Legend, Leisure Time Lager and Jabby Brau.

Leisure Time Lager was the stand out favorite, with Copper Legend as a close second. Success! It may take a while before we get into Russian imperial stouts, or goses, or sour brews, but it’s a process. Much like me getting enough riding experience to actually leave the parking lot.


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