Senior Editor – John Fahrner @
I buy a lot of beer, and some time about 2 years ago I started buying bottles and storing them in makeshift cellar in an effort to maximize the flavor out of my beverage investment. When I started doing this all was well, I would go to my local store of choice grab whatever I was going to enjoy that day and add an extra treasure to my purchase to stash away for a rainy day. I still find myself doing this fairly regularly, although not as often as I’m running out of space to store my little hoard of delicious craft delicacies. So now that I have a respectable stash that I’ve hoarded over time I’m finding myself encountering a whole new problem, one that was somewhat unexpected. It’s not the ever rising cost of beer or the fact that I’m now brainstorming ways to expand my cellar, no for some reason I seem to have a new found phobia of allowing myself to enjoy these beers.
Sounds pretty stupid right? I thought so too, and let me be clear, I don’t have a fear of the contents within any said bottle, what I find myself not liking is the realization that once I open one of these nuggets of joy they’re gone. Gone forever, never to be replaced, never to reach that particular state of beer nirvana again. Sure I’ll probably get my hands on more KBS next year in March to stick with its older brethren, but in the back of my mind and as good as 2016 KBS will likely be it will never be another bottle of 2013 KBS. This is not to debate the variants between different vintages of any one beer, this is solely to point out that there seems to be some screw in my head tightened down to the point that I’m now obsessing over the mere possession of some of these trophy beers. You might be reading this and thinking “Who cares? if you don’t want to drink that bottle of Bourbon County I know a good place for it!” I get that, and there is a big part of my brain that thinks the exact same thing. Still I ponder, and like a lemming over a cliff I continue to saunter back to the liquor store and hoard hoard hoard.
I realize that a big part of this problem is my own buying habits. My go to style of beer is typically IPA so I almost always have a bevy of brews on hand that should really be enjoyed fresh. The other variable, for me is climate, I love a big burly beer that will insulate a person and enable them to survive a winter in the middle of the legendary frozen tundra of a venue like Lambeau Field. That being said I don’t normally open a bottle of brew like that in the middle of summer. As much as I love Expedition Stout I don’t find it refreshing after spending an hour mowing my lawn. Then of course there’s the matter of timing, prior to my days of cellaring the best reason for me to open a beer was simply because I wanted the beer. It didn’t matter if it was a bottle of much sought after 120 IPA on a random Tuesday night or a Sam Adams at a bar because that’s what was on tap. See beer, drink beer and all was well. As ragingly irresponsible as that sounds there’s still a nugget of truth there, the difference is that if it’s a random Tuesday night I’m far more likely to grab one of my go to beers rather than breaking into the special reserve.
So when does it become appropriate to divulge into one of these high end bottles of joy? Special occasions? It sure seems like the majority of special occasions I end up attending lately are around the birthdays of 1-5 year old children, hardly seems appropriate to show up with a bunch of high end stouts, barley wines, or strong ales. The truth is really aren’t enough big events in my life to even put a dent in my overstock issue, at this rate I’d be taking about 1 bottle out every 2 years. With a consumption to purchase ratio like that I’ll be on that show hoarders with endless bottles of meticulously stacked beers clogging up the airspace within my humble abode, not really an idea that interests me.
So what’s the answer? I’m coming to the realization that I will likely have to make up reasons to celebrate these unique and limited bottles, I think the dog has a birthday coming up. I’ve already found myself offering up a couple trophy beers in trade to friends who simply couldn’t get their hands on the more sought after beers (regardless of how many times I give them the advice of loyalty to the guys at the local liquor store). The cool thing about sharing a beer that has journey behind it is noticing that people really do bond over such well crafted beers. I’m lucky to have friends that recognize the love of a well matured beverage and enjoy the experience of partaking in such opportunities. Now if I can just move past my self imposed separation anxiety over a handful of dubiously selected bottles I might be able to rotate some new inventory and keep a more healthy balance in my little slice of beer euphoria. I know my local beer merchant much prefers me being in perpetual “stock up” mode as opposed to “where am I going to store that” mode.
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