Monday, October 7, 2013

Open thread: Bottleshares

bottleshare 006
A good example of a typical bottleshare lineup
When I first heard about craft beer enthusiasts organizing "bottleshares," I was a tad perplexed. I know how we beer geeks can develop a collector's mentality over acquiring "white whales," or even just readily available top shelf bottles. I didn't understand wanting to part with these veritable trophies. However, I quickly realized that a bottleshare would consist of everyone bringing bottles of comparable high quality. Sharing a bottle from my private stash in order to try a lot of other great beers seemed like a good deal to me.

So last year I hosted my first-ever bottleshare and it was pretty fun. I hosted another in the spring, and have been to a few here and there, including one yesterday. I filmed our tasting notes at my first two bottleshares, which you can see in these YouTube videos:

There's actually something of a competitive nature to bottleshares. My friends and I try to one-up each other and see who can bring the rarest or most highly-acclaimed beer. So far, my best contributions have been Three Floyds Dark Lord and Westvletren 12 (I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to top these).

The best part about bottleshares is that everyone gets to try something they might not otherwise have had the opportunity to (i.e. too expensive, too difficult to acquire, or just weren't interested in or aware of). That's not to say that every bottle at one of these events is fantastic. In fact, there's been plenty of clunkers I've encountered. These tend to be novelty beers like those that come in big pink bottles, or vintages that don't age well. And sometimes a beer just doesn't live up to the hype.
Considering the audience for this blog, I don't need to tell you how awesome bottleshares are. If you've never been to one, I highly recommend you attend or organize an event yourself. In the meantime, I'd like to get a discussion going about bottleshares:
  1. Do you bottleshare? Why or why not?
  2. What's been the rarest or most highly-acclaimed beer you've been able to try at a bottleshare?
  3. What's been the most pleasantly surprising beer?
  4. What's been the most disappointing beer?
  5. What kind of food do you pair with a bottleshare?
  6. How many beers do you sample during an average bottleshare and over what length of time?
  7. Are there any downsides to a bottleshare?

1 comment:

  1. I did a barleywines-only bottle share with a total of 5 people awhile back. It was great fun, as we also tried to pair good food with the beers (I made figs stuffed with blue cheese, for example; we also had plenty of interesting cheeses). We consumed the following:

    2009 Bigfoot (growler); 2007 Bigfoot; 2007 Old Guardian; 2010 Old Horizontal; 2010 Nogne O #100; Old Numbskull; Goose Island King Henry; a Danish barleywine (name forgotten); 2008 Iron Hill Old Ale; and 2003 DFH Olde School.

    As for Question #7 - downsides to a bottleshare? Yes: if you're drinking nothing but barleywines and you get started at about 9:00 p.m. . . . well, the next day is going to be ugly.

    I once brought a Surly Darkness to a bottleshare. By the time we got to it, however, let's just say things were a bit hazy. Chalk that up as another downside.