I’ve found myself with a slight dilemma on my hands lately. Winter is a great time for really big beers to come out. You can get heavy imperial stouts, huge barleywines, or really good scotch and old ales. These beers are delicious and all I want to do is get them home, chilled, and consumed. There is a different way to think about this though. Why not get them home, put them in a box, wait a year or two, and then get them out to drink. I know, for those reading who aren’t beer enthusiasts, this sounds like a crazy idea. You buy alcohol to go home and consume it. Why would you ever buy a beer with the intention of letting it sit around for a year or two before you consume it? For those of us who are slightly more well versed in the language of beer, some beers only get better with time and you want to allow it to reach its full potential before you open it. My question is: how do you fight the urge for instant gratification?
The best way I’ve found around this is buying in bulk. Bourbon County recently landed on the soil of Washington DC, and it has created quite the stir amongst the beer nerds. I was presented with this dilemma at first when I was only able to find a single bottle of it at a local store. Then, walking to my second job one day, I saw a full case sitting right in the window of the shop next door to the restaurant. Problem solved! Yes I had to pay a pretty penny for a full 4 pack, but I now have 5 bottles of it. I can drink one or two and age the remaining for different increments of time. It was a beer miracle! This, however, isn’t the way things always work out. When possible, I always try and buy more than a single bottle of a beer I am considering aging. I can get that instant gratification, and I can age the crap of the other bottle. What do I do though, when I can only find, or afford, a single bottle of a big beer that would benefit from a few years in the dark?
The beer that actually sparked the thought for this blog comes out of Founders Brewing Co. Founders produces beers that are big, bold, and tasty. So, I couldn’t help but search with all my might to find a bottle of Bolt Cutter. Bolt Cutter is their 15 year anniversary barleywine release. Doing some slight research, I found that Founders released a barleywine for their 10 year anniversary, but it doesn’t seem like they brew a celebratory beer every year like Stone Brewing Co. Therefore, I really felt like I had to find it. I managed to procure a bottle for $24, but I only found one bottle in my area. Now the dilemma kicks in. Do I wait a few months to drink it, do I wait a few years to drink it, or do I crack it open the next time I have a gathering at my house? I did manage to solve a similar problem with my bottle of Lucky Bastard from Stone Brewing Co. I found it on tap while home for Thanksgiving break. I really doubt that ends up happening with Bolt Cutter. Maybe I manage to find another bottle, or maybe I manage to find another way to taste it, but if I don’t, I’m not sure what do with a singular bottle. I would love to crack open this 15% Abv right now, but I want to drink it at its optimal time.
So beer geeks, what do you do when faced with this dilemma? Do you give in to the desire for instant gratification, or do you suck it up and age the beer to its prime? I’ve certainly gone both ways with beers in the past, but I find myself most confused with this bottle of Bolt Cutter. Help me Obi Wan, you’re my only hope!