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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Cellaring Beers or the creation of “Skye’s Special Reserve Selection”…in three parts (Part 2)

Maybe we really can "drink 'em all" (original here)
Part 2:  Why I do this now, to what ends, & the perfect bottle.

So now I am cellaring beer, slowly building up my stocks in the basement but, as stated in the subtitle above, to what end? As discussed in part 1, the reasons I started this were not necessarily the reasons people do it. To be frank, my reasons were more driven by “necessity” than any overarching goal or purpose; I don’t drink fast enough, I get bored, and my compulsion to try new styles runs over my good sense. (An apt comparison for my beer consumption is Pokemon (Gotta Drink’em all!)) Toss into the mix that I give beer second chances and you end up with a nice bit of disorganized cellaring.

So I find myself in a bit of a cycle. My little completionist obsession to “drink ‘em all,” mixed with disposable income, stirred by the knowledge that I have the space to do this puts me in my present predicament...which isn’t quite right. I enjoy the position I find myself in. I get to satisfy my compulsion, drink beer at my pace, and the best part, if I don’t like something or I get bored I take the remaining bottles and put them in the “special reserve selection” to temper their perceived deficiencies or enjoy them at my convenience. It’s a win-win!

All those puzzle pieces have organized themselves into something bigger and expanded the answer of “to what end?”  At present if asked my answer is twofold, the first being I find myself purchasing differently now. I find myself buying beer more like folks buy wine. I’m purchasing more and more beer in bombers or larger bottles. Once upon a time it was a rare occurrence when I would buy them, not because of the beer inside but because of the quantity that needed to be consumed after cracking it open. A not impossible task to enjoy by yourself, but better enjoyed by friends. Similar in size to a wine bottle, it makes for easy cellaring and more often than not the contents in these bottles are the big, bold, complex styles that can be aged.  

The other answer is a little more esoteric. I have become captivated by the idea of “the perfect bottle” and let’s be honest here, it borders on the pretentious and ridiculous side of things. Here is a personal example of beer perfection.

Several weeks ago I was drinking Spotted Cow in the stands of Lambeau Field while my Green Bay Packers played football below with friends to my right and left. For me it is a perfect memory. At that time and place I don’t know if a better beer would have fit the situation for me. (Yes, there are better beers out there but at that time and place for Skye Marthaler Spotted Cow was the best beer) Remember folks, beer is subjective and our so are our experiences with it.

So what does that example have to do with my still nascent idea of “the perfect bottle?” First off this concept is built on two tenets this blog promotes.
  • Beer should always be approachable
  • There is a time and place for every beer.
Simply put the “perfect bottle” is having the right beer at the right time for the right people. Here is where cellaring comes in, it gives you the luxury of time and allows you to plan for your beer future because sometimes you have to wait for the the right beer and drinkers to show up.

Next time I’ll discuss a bit more of what is currently living in my special reserves and how I decide what goes and what stays.

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