Let's call this year twenty consolidate-teen.
I've oft lamented about my inability to drink the beers in my "cellar" (my cellar is a hallway closet) due to a particular mutation of FOMO: if I drink a beer, then I no longer have the beer. Which begs the question - have the beer for what?
Just to have, duh. To know that I have it and can drink it anytime I like but no time ever seems "special" enough. Even for beers I'm saving that I don't particularly like.
If you're a "beer person," even a casual one, then you know how expensive being a beer person can get. Extremely. When I say that I could have paid off student loans with what I've spent on beer, I'm not kidding. It's exciting to go into a bottle shop in a new area and see all the beer they have available that I can't get. I can usually display a modicum of self-control until I reach for that first 22 oz. bottle of barrel-aged something or 4 pack of double IPA and then it's all over.
Well, this year, I'm saying "No mo' FOMO" and taking the plunge into all the beers I've been saving for no reason in particular except for the pleasure of knowing I have them.
I've set one ground rule for myself - no buying beer to bring home if there's beer already at home.
It sounds simple, but I find it strangely intimidating. This rule is two-fold - not only will I start drinking all the beers I've been saving and thus no longer possess them, but I will also stop bringing home all the new beers I see when I'm out. I tried this approach this past summer in San Diego and found it to be a satisfying exercise.
Thus far, Tom and I have carved out three exceptions to this rule. First, we have a few verticals that we've been working on for several years. For those of you unfamiliar with the term "vertical" in this context, having a vertical of a beer means that the brewery releases a new version of the same beer each year. The recipe doesn't change, but the experience of the beer changes as it ages. There are usually noticeable differences between beers from different years. The verticals can stay intact throughout this experiment. We can also add to the verticals as the 2018 versions get released.
Second, there are a handful of beers that are very special to us and those we can save for a special occasion. For example, we have two bottles of Blushing Monk from Founders Brewing Company that we are saving because, as you may recall, that was the beer we used for our wedding toast. We also have a bottle of Cantillon Classic Gueuze that Jean Van Roy, Cantillon brewer and 4th generation owner, personally gave our two closest friends to give to us as a wedding present. Neither one of those beers is a Tuesday night, Netflix binge kind of beer.
Third, we can buy beer for studying purposes. Blind tasting barrel-aged stouts and sours is going to get old really quick and isn't going to help improve my palate. We can continue to buy mixed six packs for educational purposes.
For those of you who are curious, below are screenshots of my current beer collection.
OF COURSE I have it organized in a spreadsheet. If you're surprised by this, you must be new to the blog. In that case, hello my name is Jen and I suffer from over-organization.
So my first I Tried It of the new year will be a continuing one. I'm thinking I'll try the band-aid approach to it and start with one of the beers I've been saving the longest. Check back soon for an update on how I'm doing!
Happy new year!