Cellaring 102: Three Beers You Can Drink Now and Save for Later
The last time we talked aging beer, we looked at basic do's and don't's of storing your beer. Simple stuff, right? Now that you know where you are going to put all that beer, it's time to go shopping.
Photos by Joshua Justice I only bought Blood of the Unicorn because it looks like a dead horse album cover.
With beer aisles now holding hundreds of choices, it's hard enough to find one to have during the game, much less a beer worth holding onto for a while. Here's a quick rundown of our top three picks for beers to age right now.
Remember: Multi-bottle packs are your friend. When you're first starting to age beers, big 22-ounce and bomber-sized bottles are a sucker's bet. Sure, big-format bottles look sexy with their fancy labels. And -- truth be told -- a lot of breweries' limited-edition and seasonal beers only come in those large-format bottles. Packs of smaller 12-ounce bottles, however, offer lots of advantages over their larger counterparts.
First, contrary to most grocery store buys, the smaller, multi-pack beer is often cheaper per ounce than large-format bottles of the exact same product. It's largely a marketing glitch that exploits the beer nerds among us who lust after these large-format beers. But trust me -- I've done the math -- six-packs are the value proposition a good portion of the time.
Additionally, buying multiples of the same beer offers you something buying a single bomber bottle does not: the ability to taste test your beer along the way. Unless you have already tried a particular beer, how will you know -- two years down the road -- if you are happy with the results of the aged beer? By buying several, you can try the beer now and also check in on it at various intervals along the way. Not only do you truly get to experience how the beer changes as time goes on, you will have a better chance of drinking the beer when you are truly happy with its flavor.
One final advantage of multi-packs is that you won't feel bad sharing. Sometimes it's hard to part with a bottle you've been holding onto for three years. When you have several, it's much easier to bring a bottle to a friend's house or out to a bottle share -- which is really the whole reason you age beer in the first place: to be the guy who brings the great beer. Everyone loves that guy. Besides, who wants to go to the liquor store and come home with stuff you can't open and drink? One for you, the rest for the cellar.