The bottle share is a great thing. It’s a chance to try a lot of beers with a minimal investment and is additionally a great way to hang out with your beer loving friends for an evening or afternoon.The principle is simple: You buy a few bottles of craft beer (and/or dig a few out of your cellar) and bring them to wherever the bottle share will be held. Your friends will have (presumably) done the same so that there’s at least as many bottles as there are people.Someone cracks open the first beer and the bottle makes the rounds until everyone has a sample and then you repeat this process until everything is tasted or the last cab arrives to take you home!
It’s not necessary that each beer be something rare or special, in fact, often the best beers at a bottle share are something that’s just arrived in the market and is very fresh.While aging the occasional rare bottle can be a good thing, it’s important to remember that some styles, most notably IPA’s, aren’t meant to be held onto like treasured relics.Indeed I ruined one of my favorite beers in the world, Hanssen’s Gueuze, by aging it too long and at room temperature.When I served it at one of my judging classes, it was clear that it was well past its prime, although it still had many of the sour notes and barnyard aromas that make it a classic.
Having a theme to the bottle share can also prove very educational.At our monthly Foam Ranger homebrew club meetings, we have a club sponsored bottle share that focuses on an individual style so that our club members can learn the difference between say, a Sweet Stout, an Irish Stout and an Imperial Stout.A theme appropriate to this time of year might be Pumpkin beers, but any style (or none at all) is fair game.Being able to share tasting notes and observations about the beers is the real fun in a good bottle share.I’ve never walked away from one without a new perspective on a style or having tried a new and interesting beer I have always wanted to try.
Some folks might be a bit leery about breaking out their more rare or exotic beers for a bottle share, but to me, that’s the entire point. At a wine class I took a few years ago, the instructor was talking about aging wines and what he called “special” bottles.He remarked that if getting together to enjoy some wine with your friends wasn’t a special occasion, then what is?Over the years I’ve come to appreciate that having something rare and unique isn’t a lot of fun unless you have someone to share it with.If you end up drinking your best and most interesting beers alone, then you’re missing the fun that comes from being with your friends when they enjoy it too.Bottle shares are a great way to expand your palate and have a great time with your friends without having to buy all the beer yourself, so pick a bottle or three, call some friends and enjoy!
Bev Blackwood II is the Southwest Brewing News Contributing Editor for Texas and has been covering Texas beers for 17 years An award winning home brewer, Bev has also brewed professionally at St. Arnold Brewing Company and was part of the team that brought home Saint Arnold’s first Great American Beer Festival gold medal in 2007. A long time member of Houston’s premiere homebrew club, the Foam Rangers, Bev teaches their Beer Judge Certification Program course and has also taught at Rice University’s Glasscock School of Continuing Studies.
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Ora Media, LLC, its affiliates, or its employees.