The holidays are upon us, and while nothing is more fun than getting together with friends and family and having a few beers, what happens when the party's over and you have way more brews than you started with? Or when you buy more than you probably need? This week, we asked the Fervent Few what they do with all that beer that accumulates this time of year.
Richard Maletto: “I personally am terrible about this. Lucky for me though, I’m into Stouts and sours and they typically age OK.”
Robbie Wendeborn: “I invite friends over for little mini bottle shares about once a month to open beers I can't drink on my own like BA Stouts or 750-ml bottles. I'll usually do little pairings too, like a few chocolates or a cheese board. It's a good opportunity to get the beer out of my closet and get more palates on interesting beers.”
Thad Parsons: “That generally means it’s time for a party! Other option: staff training at the shop.”
Josh Mills: “I fire up the grill and start inviting people over for burgers and tacos (and beer). Also, the Stouts start to accompany breakfast on weekends.”
Mark de Leeuw: “I'll either bring some stuff to work for Friday afternoon drinks or host an impromptu tasting session with some friends. I rarely buy beers in duplicate, so I'm usually quite good at keeping my fridge clean.”
Murray Slater: “I have the opposite problem: often drinking beers before I should. Real classic gems muled from overseas I tend to share with friends. It's one of those trees-in-the-forest-type analogies. If you do not drink it with a friend, did it ever happen? Your beer reality is only formed while sharing with good mates.”
Carla Jean Lauter: “Allagash promoted an event on social media a few years back with the hashtag #DrinkItNow. Go get something in your cellar that you've been saving for an occasion, here's the occasion! I tend to be overprotective of my beer for ‘special’ events, so having someone give me a nudge to actually enjoy it was helpful! Also, going over to others' houses helps because I'll run down to the basement and grab a few bottles to share. I rarely have something epic, but usually there's something interesting!”
Bobby Fitzgerald: “I stopped keeping a big cellar. Ten bottles or less, a few Gueuzes/Lambics, a few Hill Farmstead Saisons, a few Wild Ales, and one big, BA Stout. Hoppy beers go in the fridge, as does dry Pils or Saisons. If I accumulate more than 15, I share them with people at my brewery. We often will do staff appreciation, which turns into a type of bottle share. This time a year, a sixer of Celebration is always on hand if someone drops by.”
Patrick Atkins: “i like to acquire and have cool stuff on hand to share with beer enthusiasts/folks who come over, but yes, only 60% of that is being able to share and enjoy, while the other 40% is looking kingly for having a dope bottle/cellar/guest bedroom closet. I’m trying to be more genuine about it, though. Now, more than ever, it’s a goal of mine to share bottles that are amazing with people who appreciate it, but who’ve never had such. Lastly, sometimes it’s gratifying to buy multiple of a certain bottle that’s particularly excellent—a BA Stout or Saison or Barleywine—and then open one each year and discuss with friends. That is how we learn how beers age, and can help us predict with better accuracy what a vintage will do with time.”
Austin L. Ray: “After our son’s first birthday party, where I apparently drastically over-bought on the beer side, and then some of our friends brought even more beer, our fridge situation could only be described as ‘stressful.’ I didn’t want to take a bunch of beer out and let it warm up, and I also didn’t want some of the great, hoppy things in there to get old, so I turned to Atlanta’s local beer subreddit and told them I had a bunch of beer up for grabs. Someone picked up about a case’s worth a few hours later. Sometimes the internet isn’t terrible.”
Jake Rajewsky: “When I need room in the fridge, I throw beer in the cellar, where they sit and sit and sit until they're no longer drinkable. Have you ever wondered what a three-year-old version of Trader Joe's DIPA or Spotted Cow would taste like? I can help you out.
Eventually, I plan to use all of the non-cellarable beers in my cellar to make a FrankenEis, using the same fortification technique as an Eisbock, but with all the scraps down there.”
Nick Yoder: “I try to break something out of the cellar any time I've got company over. I find it really cool to share something special with other people, plus it's helpful when trying to kill off bombers and high-ABV stuff.”
Rob Steuart: “Sober me keeps things aways for special occasions or to share. Inebriated me just likes cracking dumb beers, which doesn't work well for a cellar.”