Rare special brews, and the problem with sharing

While perusing my blogroll the last day or so, I couldn’t help but notice that on another of the beer-related blogs I read, the Beer and Whiskey Brothers, one of the imbibing brothers (Don, if you’re curious) described a special holiday event he’ll be attending this year.  It’s called an "ungettables" gathering, which loosely described, is an event where a group of craft beer lovers each brings a bottle of something not easily accessible in the local market.  Everyone then shares the bounty of rareness.

This idea actually got me to thinking about the "Tasting of the Ambers" we did at Tom and Carla’s last year.  Sure, we started by comparing the various amber lagers and ales, but I seem to recall, vaguely, (come on, that was like a year ago) that as the evening wore on, a few special bottles appeared for sharing.

Everyone likes sharing.

Well, except me.  I mean, sure, I love sharing when other people want to share with me, but, um, I’m not very helpful when the time comes to share with others.

Now, before I start getting angry emails and vitriolic comments, and am made to suffer the harsh judgment of a collective "TSK!" from the entire craft beer scene in Cincinnati (and beyond), let me explain.  I’m not suggesting that when it comes to rare, special beers, I’m the equivalent of a 3 year-old at the first day of preschool.  I’m not going to start screaming, "My beer! My BEER! MY BEER!" while doing a rolling, full-body floor-tantrum.  And no, I don’t squirrel away my special acquisitions beneath a loose floorboard, growling at the family pets if they come sniffing about.

I’m happy to share, I swear.  At least, I would be, if I ever had anything to share.

That’s not to say I don’t lay my hands on the occasionally coveted brew.  Obviously, I do pick up the unusual one whenever I can.  The problem is that in order to share them with others as described above, you generally have to hold on to them for, say, more than 48 hours.  And that, ladies and gentleman, is why I don’t share well.

See, Tom and Carla, and most of the other craft beer lovers I’ve ever met have a stash: a storage spot where they deposit the "good stuff" for special occasion.  In some cases, that’s just the back corner of the fridge where the tasty morsels stay out-of-sight and out-of-mind. 

I don’t, and what’s worse, I can’t make it work.  Believe me, I’ve tried.

The fundamental problem is that, at heart, I’m always going to be that over-excitable little kid from Christmas morning.  In fact, I was that over-excitable little kid every Christmas.  My mother will no doubt give signed affidavits to the effect that I was always the first one tugging at my parent’s blankets as soon as I thought Santa was likely gone, long before the sun came up.  And even as normal people grow out of such behavior, I clung to it, frankly until a altogether inappropriate age. 

Like 26.

So, while I’ve finally come to appreciate getting some decent sleep on Christmas morning—just in time for my own kids to roust me from bed at a ridiculous hour—the excitable impatience lives on in me still.  But instead of toys under the tree, nowadays I get all worked up about having a special beer in the fridge.

Which is why those special bottles rarely make it through a night.

Do have something a little special squirreled away for a special event?  What’s hidden, well-protected, in the deep dark corners of your beer storage?

Leave a comment and let us know.  Maybe we can arrange something.

I’ll bring, um, some brownies.


8 Replies to “Rare special brews, and the problem with sharing”

  1. I feel your pain. Whenever I have friends in town, the first thing I want to do after a night of drinking is head straight for the good stuff (painful, since it’s the time you’ll enjoy it least!). I have lately found success in the following way:

    1) Store it in the basement, in a covered box, underneath a bunch of stuff, where you will never see it
    2) Always have good beer available at your house for drinking
    3) Always have home brews going!

  2. I completely understand. In our old house, we had to buy a stand alone cabinet AND a wire rack just for regular pantry staples. There was NO room for beer.
    In our current house (which Tom and Carla visited a day after we moved in and brought us Hudy Amber!) I have a pantry and half a shelf for beer. That didn’t keep us from drinking our six pack of Zombie Dust in a day. As soon as it got home, it was in the fridge and we drank it like it was going out of style. I completely understand where you’re coming from. Can you make us some beer mac n cheese? 😉

  3. I find it’s easier to hang onto a beer you’d like to share if you already know who you’re going to share it with when you buy it.

    With tougher to get beers, I’ll typically hang onto them to share with one friend in particular who I rarely get to see. If that’s not possible, I’ll either open it at a tasting at someone else’s place or one I’m hosting myself.

    I find that I get more enjoyment out of a tasting where a handful of people will bring bottles and everyone gets to try everyone else’s, rather than sit at home by myself and drink 22oz of the same beer.

    As for the beer I’m most excited to share currently: it would have to be Bruery’s Black Tuesday. It’s pretty much made for sharing with others, as I can think of zero instances where I will drink a 750ml bottle of 18% imperial stout by myself.

  4. As for the beers in my cellar, my best treasures are a Pizza Port Older Viscosity, CBS, Russian River Consecration and Damnation, Stillwater Chardonnay Barrel Aged Stateside Saison, amd De Glazen Toren Saison D’Erpe and Ondineke Tripel

  5. I try to buy “keeper” beers at room temp and immediately store them in my pantry, not my fridge. This way I’m likely to be more deliberate with them, although I run the risk of being over-deliberate. Case in point: when I moved to Cincy in August 2010, I brought a case of local beers with me from Eugene, OR; in May 2011, I found that I was still hoarding six of them. It’s not easy to finish six 22 oz’ers, but I did it….

  6. I love the idea of an “ungettable” tasting. As for my cellar, it’s just a cooler stuck in the corner of my basement with homebrew piled on top of it. Here’s what’s currently in there http://goo.gl/RY1zO

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