I rarely ever enter a beer store and march right out with a quick purchase. Some people buy the same brand of something all the time. I might always buy Colgate (if I'm too cheap for Tom's of Maine) toothpaste, for instance, but I never buy the same beer again and again.
Now, there are the old stand-bys and the brands that I frequent. But I'd guess I spend on average 5 to 15 minutes pacing back and forth in front of the glass cooler doors taking in all the possibilities. Occasionally, something will stand out due to one of a number of reasons -- type of beer, label, place of origin, quantity, price or a combination of quantity/price.
The latter attributes were stacked in my favor when I spied this dark, dappled bottle through the glass a few weeks back. With a brand name like Baltika it sounded distant and intriguing. It had an ABV that would be high on the pH scale and 51oz of this liquid set me back less than four bucks.
That bottle thrice filled my pint glass. Good thing, since the first glass was sufficient to deaden my taste buds and bring them around to my foreign experience. After that the second was startlingly palatable. The third made me believe it would matter not if I were stranded above deck on a freighter hauling timber stuck smack dab in the middle of the actual Baltic during a winter storm.
O, Baltika ... I hope to visit your shores one day, but I think I'll drink your salty brine before I quaff your namesake malt liquor ever again.