Beer of the Week: Building Your Collection
|My sad little beer stash as it stands at the moment.|
There's two types of beer I keep around the house: everyday drinking beer, and bottles I'm saving as part of my collection.
The everyday beer is simple enough to describe.
I usually keep a six-pack of something good in the fridge like a Bell's Two-Hearted Ale or a Brooklyn Lager. It's great if I get some unexpected company or just want to drink a cold one at the end of the day. Plus, as I'm learning, you need these kinds of beers on hand all the time if you ever want to build a real collection.
Let me explain: In addition to the beer in my fridge, I'm trying to grow a stash of specialty bottles that I'll only bust out if the mood strikes me. My collection of reserves, cellared bottles, and homebrews sit in a cabinet in one of my upstairs closets, waiting for the right moment to be popped open.
But growing a beer collection is harder than it sounds. Not drinking that bottle of oak-aged Allagash or Stone XS Imperial Stout you've been saving takes big-time restraint. More often than not, I dip into my collection when I'm out of everyday beer and, for whatever reason, can't get to the store. In those moments, I think to myself, "I'll just replace this bottle next time I go beer shopping."
The process, I'm afraid, is cyclical.
It's for that reason I can't ever seem to get my collection to grow. It usually fluctuates between five and ten bottles depending on how thirsty I get any given day of the week. What can I say; restraint isn't exactly my strong suit.
The only beers I seem to be able to legitimately hold onto are my homebrews. These bottles I tend to be most protective of since (a) they're in limited quantity, and (b) I made them myself. To give you an idea, I still have bottles from the first homebrew batch I made almost two years ago. Those two bomber-sized remnants of my first brew won't get opened unless there's something to celebrate. (Unsurprisingly, when I last opened one a few months ago, its flavor was the best in the bunch.)
But a bottle of some limited-edition Rogue or rare Belgian I bought? Those I can't seem to keep from drinking.
Lately I've resolved to drink a little bit less, and I think that will finally help my beer collection grow. But I think what may actually help me most is making sure I've got that everyday six-pack on hand in case my will breaks down. Otherwise, my collection may be in limbo for some time to come.