I propose to you a few questions this week about how we interact socially with one another. Do you share the beer you just ordered with a friend for some perspective? Do you openly share the prized pieces of your collection with friends? Do you welcome bottle shares even if they include complete strangers? If you answered yes to any or all of those questions than you are embracing what might be the greatest part about the beer culture in general. Beer was meant to be enjoyed by the individual but reflected upon by a group. The different perspectives that one can gain by drinking certain beers can vary from person to person, so getting those differing opinions can be one of the most rewarding things in this industry. Those opinions can help us unlock something that we may not have noticed before in a beer and its that kind of objectivity you want when honing in on what makes a beer great for each individual.
It’s hard to give something up that you worked so hard to source, the journey itself is one of the best parts of the experience second only to the beer itself. That being said, I’m in no way advocating being the Robin Hood of craft beer, after all you might be sitting on thousands of dollars in several year old bottles of stouts, porters and barleywines. On the other hand, do we want to continue a trend that has become common place in the craft beer industry where people are more interested in holding onto rare bottles of beer to flip much like the bourbon and wine industries? It’s not a bash against cellaring because I do enjoy it myself, its a realization that some people might be more interested in collecting beer rather then actually drinking it.
The idea behind cellaring is also conducive to sharing as well. You want to allow the characteristics of a beer to change in the bottle, whether its mellowing out or intensifying a certain flavor that was present after bottling. What happens after keeping that beer for a year or two or maybe 5, one can only assume. I find this is the perfect time to let your best buds gather around for the spectacle that opening a cellared beer can become. Not to long ago I was able to try a couple 5 year old bottles of King Henry and CBS during a friend’s birthday. A great example of an occasion worth breaking out some old jams that have become even more complex with age. The look on the faces of the ones lucky enough to try these aged brews was priceless, like we were experiencing some out of body craft brew interaction. You cannot get that reaction when enjoying a beer like that by yourself. So break out the fine china and enjoy a beer with friends today!
“The act of drinking beer with friends is the highest form of art” Tom Marioni – Conceptual Artist