A while back, a local reader tipped me that the Pizzeria Uno at the Oxford Valley Mall had developed a decent beer selection. I had to run over there today to pick up a book for my son's Latin class at Barnes & Noble, so I figured I'd stop in and check.
Well, lookie here! Uno had some decent drafts -- HopDevil, Stoudt's Scarlet Lady ESB (which used to be everywhere in this area), Troegs Hopback Amber, and Rogue Dead Guy -- but the real treasure was the bottle selection: Duvel, Smuttynose IPA (I assume the Finestkind, didn't see it), 3 Philosophers, Arrogant Bastard, Lefthand Sawtooth, Bell's K-zoo Stout...and about 10 others of similar interest, including North Coast Old Rasputin imperial stout, which is what I had. It was in fine shape: burnt-bitter but with delicious alefruit notes, authoritative body, and great with my pesto-underlaid pizza.
Kinda made me laugh about how chain operators were telling me that having craft beers at chain restaurants was completely unrealistic, "a fairy tale," beer snob pipe dreams. I remain convinced that -- at least until the huge materials cost increases came along in late 2007 -- the biggest thing holding back strong growth for craft beer is availability, either because of lack of distribution, lack of capacity, or lack of retailer commitment. Uno's holding up their end.