Collecting beer is something that I love to do. I just enjoy having good beer on hand. Saving beer, on the other hand, is not something that I am able to do easily. Sometimes I am not in the mood for the beer after I buy it, so it seems like I was hoping onto it, but really I just didn't feel like drinking it.Over the past few years, I have purchased or been gifted numerous bottles of beers that I subsequently cellared and designated as “to be opened on a special occasion.” My dilemma, however, is matching an occasion with opening a particular bottle in my collection.
There have been certain occasions in which I was able to hold onto the beer for a time, with designated days in which I planned on drinking them... here is the reason those days are special.
Sam Adams Utopias (2005)
This bottle was not owned by me, but upon my arrival at my brother's house following the birth of his first child, he couldn't wait to open it (it was his wife's Christmas present to him the year before). We didn't know much about the beer other than the cost, high abv and it was supposed to be very good. Served in a brandy snifter, the maple syrup was a very nice drink to celebrate a great occasion.
Victory Wild Devil
This past 4th of July I proposed to my (now) fiance. We decided to have an engagement party in August. This is where I opened my bottle of Wild Devil (I read online many times that said to hold onto the Wild Devil and the beer would develop nicely, so I did). I bought the bottle in March, and it was hard not to open it before August. So along side of the Yuengling, Brewer's Art Ozzy and Troeg's Nugget Nectar (they did a mid-summer release), there was my bottle of Wild Devil. Once we opened it, we knew it was different. A very good different. The funkiness from the Brett, and the hop bomb base delivered something extremely memorable. I am currently holding onto another one for a longer time.
New Years sample pack
I am from Pennsylvania, and currently reside in Baltimore. My friends at home love good beer, but unless buying a case, or a bottle from the bar, they are not able to get the selection I have access to. So, holidays (especially New Years) are my time to grab a box at the beer store and fill it up for my friends at home. This past year I grabbed He'Brew Jewbilation, Scaldis Noel and a few other choice beers for them to try. Even though the Jewbilation was a let down to me, the night was a great time and my friends were able to try many beers that we cannot otherwise get.
And Finally, the Number One time that I will be opening the special beer will be on my wedding day. Currently, I am in the process of trading with a guy to get a bottle of Westvleteren 12. This will be shared on the big day between my brother, my best friend and me. I am not expecting it to blow me away beer wise, but the search and capture of this beer will make it worth while, and of course it is rated in the top 2 in the world.
I do not need a special occasion to open a good bottle of beer, maybe I will open the Westmalle that is in my beer box tonight just for the heck of it, but finding a special occasion, celebrating with friends and family makes the beer even more special. I will always think of my niece when Utopias is mentioned, think of my engagement party when talking about Victory or Wild Devil and then be able to think about my wedding whenever Westy 12 is brought up. That is the experience that makes having a special beer worthwhile.