Bottle Share, Tasting Party, Beer Meet-Up, whatever you choose to call it; I wanted to pass along some helpful tips to have a great time.
Bottle shares can be one of the BEST parts of the craft beer world. What happens when you get a bunch of beer geeks together, with each bringing a few fantastic beers, the sky is the limit! There are a number of resources out there to organize bottle shares outside of you and a couple of buddies, BeerAdvocate comes to mind, though it can be a bit daunting if you haven’t organized a bottle share yet. Just recently, Bellingham Tap Trail has introduced a Forum aspect to the website, this is a great way to post beers you have, and post beers you are seeking. Get enough individuals together, with enough great beers they are willing to share, and who knows what can happen.
With all that said, let us go over a few necessary points to organize or participate in a successful bottle share. It’s going to be easiest to look at DO vs. DON’T.
- Bring Great Beer
- Bring something that you may be hesitant to part with. Trust me, this may be tough at first glance, but if everyone follows suit, no one will leave unhappy — including you. Remember that a good trade consists of you giving up something you don’t want to, for something you do want. You simply have to pay to play (OK poor hockey reference over).
- Bring Enough Beer
- Bring one or two fantastic beers you are dying to try or share, and then supplement with a few others that you may have had before, but are still favorites. I always like to bring a couple new beers and a couple favorites that others might not have had.
- Bring Something to Remember the Beers
- Whether you have a tasting journal, notebook, or want to take pictures of each beer, I strongly urge you to bring something along so that you can take notes on each beer you’ve enjoyed. If you have a great memory, kudos to you, but deep into the bottle share you’re probably going to wish you had a way to remember unique notes about them all.
- Be Patient
- Whether it is your first tasting, or your 100th bottle share, remember to be patient and PACE YOURSELF (seriously). Good beers are meant to be sipped and enjoyed, do not rush through everyone else’s beers just to get to yours, and do not have to sole objective of trying everything. Encourage new members to embrace the bottle share and enjoy each beer thoroughly. There is no need to rush and there is no need to scald someone who tastes something in a beer that you may not. Encourage and educate the newer members.
- Follow The (House) Rules
- Remember the same rules apply here, it is easy to get carried away if you try 3-4oz of 30+ beers, you are likely going to be unable to drive, remember to keep safe. You also do not have to try every single beer there, you’re not going to offend anyone if you sit a round or two out to rehydrate or have some food. Also, if the host has any rules, no matter how bizarre they may be, they should be obeyed. It’s a lot of work, and sometimes cleanup (it doesn’t hurt to bring your own glass) to host a bottle share. If they ask you not to post on Instagram, Facebook, whatever (rare), simply obey the rules, after all it’s about sharing good beer with good people, enjoy the beer and the company.
- Have Fun
- Enjoy the opportunity to enjoy rare beers with good friends, have fun with it and be safe.
- Be A Jerk
- Don’t open someone else’s beer, don’t taste out of order (don’t open an Imperial Stout when everyone else is on Berliner Weisse).
- Don’t bring more guests than discussed (don’t show up with one beer and five friends).
- Don’t talk down about someone else’s beer before they’ve tried it
- Don’t declare your beer as the best beer ever, let everyone formulate their own opinion, remember everyone has different tastes.
- Don’t get too bent out of shape if your bottle doesn’t go over so well with everyone.
- Forget to Have Fun
- These are meant to be fun, act respectful towards the beer and others and you will have no problems. If you are wondering how to get rare beers, keep an eye out for a tasting event, and keep an eye out for an upcoming piece on successful beer trading.
Now go out and enjoy a bottle share, trim down your beer cellar a bit and share some great beers with some good friends.