I broke down. I am a sucker.
After months of longing and pining for it, I finally bought a bottle of The Abyss by Deschutes Brewery, clicking on eBay's tempting "Buy it now" button to send a bottle my way.
The price, including shipping: $29.28.
Ridiculous, I know.
A little background: Sometime during the long, cold winter of 2007-08, I wandered into Liquor World. In the small refrigerator where the Durango store keeps its bombers stood a few bottles of The Abyss (11 percent ABV, 65 IBUs), an unassuming-looking imperial stout.
I knew nothing about this beer, but I had always loved Deschutes Brewery. I came of (drinking) age on Mirror Pond Pale Ale. Sure, I thought, I'll try a bottle.
I brought The Abyss home and later that night dug in to the wax-covered top. I filled a pint glass, set the bottle beside it and assumed the lounging position in my roommate's easy chair.
Wow. The thick, viscous liquid, the infinite depths of taste, the velvety texture - I had never had anything like it.
My reaction was hardly unique. The Abyss won a gold medal at the 2007 Great American Beer Festival. It has also garnered an A+ rating from Beer Advocate and a perfect 100 from Rate Beer.
Since then, The Abyss has become my personal white whale. Like Captain Ahab, I have searched everywhere for my quarry.
Deschutes only makes about 1,000 cases a year of the oak-aged imperial stout. Only a fraction of that makes it to Colorado. A still-smaller portion (none?) comes to Durango.
It was released most recently in November. Since then, many times have I returned to Liquor World to search the bottle fridge for it. No luck. I know not whether the retailer did not receive a shipment or whether it sold out before I could grab a bottle.
No matter, I thought. I would soon travel to The Abyss's homeland.
My excitement grew when, a few weeks before a Christmas trip to Oregon, The Abyss was on tap at Deschute's Portland pub. Alas, it was gone by the time I arrived.
I searched in vain around the area's well-stocked beer markets. It was sold out everywhere. I returned to Durango in a sulk.
(I nearly wept last week when I learned that a Portland pub is holding a tasting of all three iterations of The Abyss, from 2006, 2007 and 2008. Life brings no justice.)
Not even Internet vendors like Bottle Trek or Liquid Gratitude have The Abyss in stock. eBay has proved my only option. Sellers on the site offer The Abyss for $25 and up. (It retails for about $12 if you can find it in a store). Fewer and fewer listings show up as we get further and further from the beer's release date.
I purchased my bottle from a seller who has sold 10 bottles of The Abyss, no doubt making a handsome profit off of suckers like me. Still, within days I will have my heavenly beer.
Now comes news from Deschutes that the 2009 edition is already aging in barrels ahead of its November release. Like Mike Myers in "Wayne's World," I can only vow that it will be mine. Oh, yes. It will be mine.