Imagine keeping track of something like 1,400 different beers as just a part of your first beer industry job. Ordering new stock, keeping track of it, deciphering customers’ muddled requests for help trying a brew they only vaguely remember.
Less than a year into her gig at Bestway, the Lindley Park neighborhood grocery store with a legendary craft selection, it’s practically second nature to Kate Weigand. She’s one of the beer buyers at the Greensboro store, ordering from various distributors and handling imported beers, but she’s also on the floor answering calls and questions.
Questions like: “I remember really liking this beer, I think it was a gose, and there was a flower on the bottle. Do you have that?”
Drinking Almanac’s Saison Dolores across the street at Sticks & Stones’ bar, Weigand said she will study up online, question distributors, listen to customers and try beers herself to stay on top of how different beers compare and be able to knowledgeably answer questions. She wants everyone to be comfortable coming in and asking questions, regardless of their knowledge level about beer, and gives people her honest opinions of a beer whenever possible.
Weigand comes to Bestway with considerable beer knowledge gleaned from years of homebrewing. It gives her a greater understanding of taste profiles, various hops and the science behind it all, and her memory is a force to be reckoned with. It’s aided by the fact that she uses beer app Untappd almost like Spotify, looking for recommendations and reviews for what to try out next and figuring out what beers fall close together. And she’ll try anything, though Weigand is currently digging krieks, gueuzes and Flemish red ales. (Natty Greene’s may be the only local brewery to experiment with either of the first two lambic styles.)
Some are more familiar with Weigand as the bassist and one of the vocalists for local act LeBaron, a band that describes itself as “rock/shoe gaze/cowboy-boot gaze.” When Weigand thinks about the near-term future, it involved both the band and beer — a new album coming soon hopefully, and continued experience in the beer industry. After seeing her perform in a Smashing Pumpkins cover set with a bandmate and members of the Bronzed Chorus a few years back and after listening to her casual-yet-encyclopedic knowledge of beer, the future looks promising on both fronts.
Visit Bestway grocery store at 2113 Walker Avenue (GSO) or find it on Facebook.