#DrinkNow: attack your cellar
OK, so now that you know what #DrinkNow is and you’re on-board with the idea, you need a plan of attack against that unwieldy cellar. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, go read the first two posts of this series.) Here are a few things that should help you make it work:
- Take inventory of your cellar. This is far and away the most important thing you can do. It may be daunting, but if you don’t know what you’ve got, then you have no idea what’s wasting away. Most importantly, you’ll have no idea what can be salvaged. Make a spreadsheet. Embrace your inner nerd.
- Prioritize. A vintage Real Ale Sisyphus might have peaked, but it probably won’t fall too far too fast; save it. That Stone Imperial Russian Stout vertical? Now’s the time to move it to the fridge. Stone IRS ages gracefully, but it doesn’t get too much better, either, and the downside of a still-decent-but-past-its-
prime bottle is not worth the risk. Oh, and that last sixer of Saint Arnold Divine Reserve 8? Yikes. May as well move it to the fridge, too.
- Be ruthless. Understand that every single beer in your cellar is a sunk cost. Just because you spent money and time on buying/aging it doesn’t mean you should be attached to it. When you open that aforementioned DR8, it’s very likely to suck. It’s a 6.5-year-old Scotch Ale, after all. You’ll smell the oxidation as soon as you start pouring it. Give it a sip or two, just to be sure, and then pour it out. It’s not your fault. (It is, but I’m trying to be helpful.)
- Host a Clear the Cellar party. Whether it’s at home or at a bottle-share-friendly bar (ask in advance!), get 8 or 12 or 15 people together and get to work. You can easily clear a couple dozen bottles or more this way. It’s a good time to tackle some verticals, or to finally pop that 17% monster that you’re afraid to look at when you’re alone. Oh, and make it very clear to all your guests that it’s not a regular bottle share. Don’t let anyone bring their own bottles, as that would defeat the purpose. If everyone tries to clear their cellar at the same party, nobody clears a thing.
- Finally, and most obviously, stop buying so much beer! (As an aside, my friend and fellow HBG writer Jeff Fountain’s 3FIT rule fits perfectly here. You can’t drink every new beer.) More specifically, don’t buy multiples of anything, except for maybe your all-time favorites and/or tried-and-true aging beers (which we covered in the last post). The days of limited selection on local shelves and being able to buy two of everything just to experiment are long gone. Yes, that brand new bourbon-barrel-aged imperial stout will probably hold up for a couple years, but do you really need to take the risk with a second bottle? No.