The thing is this: these bottle share days are unpredictable in most aspects but the endgame, and that is, lots of two-armed hugging, blueskying about something epically beer related, an inevitable Zepplin or Phish longplay from Alpine Valley, and your head suddenly swimming in 4oz pours of depressants. Delicious, rare, 10% depressants.
One is likely to wonder how in the entire fuck a buzz was so readily achieved when all that was provided were several dozens of small pours, but then you forget about all that wondering, and you're off singing String Cheese Incident lyrics that you didn't even know you knew.
This is the type of brewer influenced thought-lava that usually tends to melt my brain every time the opportunity arises to get drunk in their company
Bottle Share Sunday Fundays are like de facto bro-cations, and in its current, traditional, and semi-regular form, it is a work of fucking art; like Judge St. Bernard Wins on a Bluff fresco'ed on The Pieta. Is that type of aesthetic badassery called something? If not, it should be called a Bottle Share. That's what I'm calling it, anyway.
I usually get invited to these things as a bashful +1 to one of my good friends, Mike, half-proprietor of DrinkWell and fellow beer goon. I say bashful because this: these are people's babies. These are prizes that have been stuffed into extra socks at LAX, carried through eight, boring Midwest states with golf clubs and a family, purchased from a jerk-off in North Carolina who's making a sweet rake off of your hobby, and so on, so forth. There's a modicum of respect that must be paid to people willing divvy to their hard-earned inheritance, however that may have come to be. These are why these events are so great; a communal measurement of everyone's beer-cock, with everyone nodding in mutual approval at its impressiveness.
But in the end -- you very well know -- beer is intended to be fucking consumed, and the respect for the beer itself prevails over hording your fortune.
This share, in particular, was probably the most spectacular of any in which I've participated, and that fully rests on the company with which we drank. While the beers are the stars of the show, the good folks that came together for this thing are like "the guys in the truck" that were perennially thanked on Monday nights by John Madden, and then later Al Michaels. These are the people that make shit happen.
The good men of Hops & Grain opened their brewery to a host of local beer sages from Thirsty Planet, Austin Beerworks, Jester King, Black Star, Independence, and a smattering of other brewluminati from places like New Belgium, Barley Swine, and the aforementioned DrinkWell. There was so much beer aptitude in the room, that it would be absolutely preposterous for me to review the stock, but instead, I wanted to show you what the Big League looks like. I'm just an amateur, so I'll humbly take my seat at the back of the bus.
But, before I get out of the way in favor of some 1,000-word pics, I just wanted to say thank-you to everybody who opened up their cellars in the name of craft advocacy and in the name of choking each other in the face with extreme beers.
|This was the 1PM casting call ... however, so many bottles are not pictured, because brewers are a late lot, and I got a bit forgetful about snapping one off every time someone dumped their booze into the community bath.|
|The partially disputed winner. But, wait an entire minute ... is that a lion about to old-timey-box a fucking bear? Ok then, |
|I don't want to sound like a chick or a pussy, but chocolate, coffee, and oatmeal makes me very happy. In my defense, I really only dabble in those things when they are in beer.|
Breakfast Stout | Founder's Brewing | Grand Rapids, MI
|Hand-crafted Vector from Jeff at Black Star.|
Vector Irrational Chocolate Rye | Black Star Co-Op Brewing | Austin, TX
|Double Trouble often tends to get left out of the DIPA gangbang, but ZOMG, its a wonderful, wonderful beer that perpetuates the reputation of one of the greatest American breweries.|
Double Trouble DIPA | Founder's Brewing | Grand Rapids, MI
|Now this is a gem. When discussing "rare beers", many times, we're discussing "rare to Texas", or "rare because this was a Fall 2011 release and good luck getting your hands on this until next October". But this was basically a one-off of which I'm few very little, if any, remain. I talk extensively about how much I love New Belgium's La Folie in a prior entry, and so this just took this motherfucking party to 11.|
2009 La Folie Wood Aged Sour Ale | New Belgium Brewing | Fort Collins, CO
|This sucker was born when I was 8 years old, and has been waiting 25 years to be uncorked like an elegant cognac. In fact, the brewers bottle conditioned so that it would indeed age for an extended period of time like a bold brandy, and after sampling a small pour of it, it was incredible to taste the cultivation of two and a half decades of delicate reflection. 1987 Thomas Hardy's Ale|
All that A1 sauce leads to shit like this ...
Pale Dog cans off of the willingest of brewers moving Hondas.
(photo credit: Jake Maddux twitter @BeerEvangelist)