My Home Beer Cellar - February '12

Beer is for drinking. In the community of craft beer enthusiasts, this is uttered early and often. It’s used as a generic response to anyone who asks about saving, storing, cellaring or buying beer just to resale at a markup. It’s not always uttered but it’s uttered more than you think and often by a guy who has a few bottles cellared in his own closet. “Beer is for drinking” is a mantra that is used when it’s convenient.

I think it’s a no-brainer that beer should be for drinking. This is the case for me except how can I say this when there are over 300 bottles sitting in my cellar? There are a lot of guys who cellar beer because you have to sometimes. Sometimes, you go to a store that’s in another town or while you’re on vacation in Europe and it’s hard to not grab only what you’ll be drinking that week. Perhaps there is a beer that you’ve been searching for since last year and they have a bottle. This is the story of most craft beer enthusiasts. Many of our wives or girlfriends give us a $100 dollar bill and that’s our limit even if we only claim to be getting a seasonal IPA from our favorite brewery. As expected, we come out with a box of beer and that there were things we just couldn’t pass up.

So, when guys say they are cellaring beer, the truth is, they’re keeping beer at an ideal temperature until they get around to drinking it. I buy 4 beers because I won’t see them until next year or ever again and then I prioritize what I drink based on how the beer ages. I don’t age beers intentionally but beers that can sit for 5 years might just sit for 5 years until I can get around to them.

I feel like this is the right approach. Sure, buying only what you can drink now is fine but there is this feeling of a missed opportunity when it comes to harder to find beers. Would you not go and buy a beer that is amazing and hard to get just because you have a 6-pack in the fridge? No, but then you have 350 beers in your closet and feel like a hoarder.

I buy what I want to buy and drink what I want to drink. I don’t buy beer to keep. I know this doesn’t make sense but it’s my approach.

Now if only brewers would stop releasing great beers so I can drink what’s in my cellar.