My first session! Since local blogger Pints and Pubs was hosting it I figured it only polite to participate. I don’t have time for a detailed analysis of my small collection… instead I’ll reveal how I got into “cellaring” beer and that I am now recovering from this grave mental illness.
I almost went down a horrible deep and dark hole. I almost succumbed. However I’m glad to say I am now a recovering “early stage” beer hoarder. It all started with BrewDog. Sure, I already knew some beers had cellaring potential and had enjoyed “aged” beers in 1st class beer venues… but I didn’t really even drink much beer at home until BrewDog came along. I certainly didn’t “cellar” beer until their “Abstrakt” series came along.
I fell for BrewDog hook-line-and-sinker quite early on, even bought shares in the first release of Equity for Punks (I’m a proper EFP1er, not one of these EFP2er tagalongs! *grin* </trollololol>). The set-up was pretty good — make people pay a large chunk of cash for “shares” and give them a decent 20% discount on your beer. Watch as they do their best to make up for the cash spent on shares buying HUGE volumes of beer. I don’t want to add up the value of my BrewDog orders over time… it’s in the past! Now I don’t resent BrewDog at all for doing this to me as I have massively enjoyed the ride and they’ve given back a lot for our shareholder love. At the current time I do feel a bit BrewDogged Out per se but I still think they’ve done good for beer in the UK.
Anyway — this is NOT a BrewDog post. But it just so happens I’ve bought and drank more BrewDog at home than anything else and it is still the dominant brand in my little collection. There are two sides to the beer in this house:
- “cellar” — stuff I am deliberately short-term ageing (maybe up to 4 years)
- “drink it” — beer for drinking, when I get around to it
The “cellar” collection started with Abstrakt and then extended to Hardknott starting with Granites and Æther Blæcs, and has since included a bottle here and there from other breweries such as Moor Fusion & New Zealand’s Liberty Debilitated Defender. The AB series forms the core I suppose, and I still have one of every Abstrakt, and one or two more of some up to AB:12. It really isn’t a very large collection and I have started drinking it faster than I collect it. In fact I don’t think I’m likely to buy more Abstrakts. But I said that last time…
The “drink it” collection has three sources: online orders, trips to events/places, and Bacchanalia in Cambridge. That is in diminishing order of where it has come from. When you order beer online it tends to be in boxes of at least 12 beers, if you order too often you get a “drinking backlog”. Most of the beers in this house are backlog. When I travel I almost always come back with some beer. Maybe a couple, maybe a box. Then there is Bacchanalia, usually I pop in if I’m passing by on the bike and get a couple of beers or maybe six. These usually get drunk right away and I think maybe only one or two in the collection are from here.
Last year the collection started to get a bit out of hand. Too many online orders being the main problem as I never really went hardcore with the “cellar” concept. I don’t know where the count peaked but it was probably 250 to 300 bottles. Things like this made moving home last May that little bit more difficult! Late last year I made a vow to slow down and try not to buy more than I’d want to drink and since then the boxes are gradually thinning out.
As for the “cellar” — I expect I’ll keep doing this to a small extent. But limited to a couple of years ageing. Without proper cellaring facilities it isn’t really sensible to do. That said, if I had unlimited funds I’d buy a LOT of some beers and cellar them properly. The risk is high… but sometimes the rewards are too. Some of the aged Abstrakts and Hardknotts I have had have transcended their “fresh” form and become quite stunning. Some others have died horribly, become wraith-like shadows of their former selves or actually just plain foul.
As it stands now the collection is down to a paltry 115 bottles… most of them lovely. I’ve just taken them all out for a photo, which is a good excuse to re-box and re-order them tomorrow. But, oh, where to start?! Maybe down the pub… it is Friday after all.