This sponsored column is written by Todd Himes, beermonger at Arrowine (4508 Lee Highway). Sign up for the email newsletter and receive exclusive discounts and offers. Order from Arrowine’s expanding online store for curbside pickup.

We’ve been having a busy few weeks here at Arrowine since we’ve opened back up our doors. We’ve seen (the top half of) so many familiar faces coming through the doors, and the response has been incredible.

Our online ordering system is still up and running, and I want to take a moment to thank everyone who has been using the website to place orders. We will not be making any changes to the online ordering system, so if that’s what you’re comfortable with, please continue to place your order online.

However, I know many of you are visual shoppers. I’ve been hearing it all day for the past few weeks — how great it is to be able to come in and check out all the beers, look at the cheeses (in general, if I get free second in the store, it’s probably spent looking in the cheese case) and browse through the wines. There is just something about seeing all of your options right in front of you that the online shopping experience cannot offer. Most of all the in-store experience allows me to do what I do best — which is monger.

A monger is, depending on your definition, either someone who is a broker or dealer of things or someone who promotes a specific activity, especially one that’s undesirable. That’s your difference between a fishmonger and a warmonger. I hope I get lumped in with the former, but to say Carrie Nation or John Lithgow’s Rev. Moore from “Footloose” being a beermonger is definitely the latter.

Our cheesemongers probably have it a little easier by comparison. (The pure joy on most people’s faces when you tell them you’re employed as a cheesemonger is truly a sight to see and almost makes me miss being back there slinging goudas and brie.) The truth of it is, though, that most of the mongers I know do so much more than that. When we’re not actively helping customers, we are constantly honing our crafts, which means learning everything we can about our products and making sure they are kept in the best condition possible.

With the return of in-store shopping I get to answer all those questions that can be hard to find online like, “Which of these beers have Citra hops in them?” or “Do you have any beers with a fish on the label?” and “What beer goes best with mulligatawny soup?” By the way, the answers are “lots,” “yes,” and “I like a dark lager.” Most of those fall flat in the online space and certainly don’t allow for much in the way of follow-up.

As far as keeping beers in the best condition, you’ll see me rotating products so nothing is sitting around for too long, and one of my favorite new things using the extra space in our keg cooler for cold back-stock storage. This allows for many of the beers that come into the store cold to stay cold until you buy them. This is extremely important for many of the hazy IPAs and sours with fruit purees added that are so popular these days. It also keeps the growing supply of unfiltered lagers that we are able to get our hands on cold at all times.

I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible for in-store shopping soon. Please bring me your best questions (nothing too tricky though — Your Beermonger hasn’t had a week off work in almost two years now!) or just come in and tell me about the beers you’ve been drinking!

Hope to see you soon.

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