Picture found at beercellar.files.wordpress.com
A few weeks back I came upon a few youtube links to videos of the large beer collections of a few individuals (links to a few beer cellar videos are at the end of this post). As nice as it was to see people collecting beer, and to see some beers that I have only heard of or read about, the size of the collections made me feel a tad sad for the owners of the collections (and for myself).
You see, I am a beer collector as well as a homebrewer. At this time, the fruits of both hobbies volley for the limited space that I have for them. Lately, I have more purchased beer than homebrew (this is something I hope to change before the year is through) taking up what space I have for beer, and I have been hesitant to open any of the purchased beer for a few reasons: (1) I am curious how the beer will taste if it is allowed to age (2) I have a limited quantity of some of them and what I have cannot be replenished without a sizable purchase that cannot be completed w/ livestock. As a result, I rarely enjoy a beer from my collection but I do continue to add to it. It is this hesitation that makes be believe that collecting beer for the long term can be a curse - you want to collect beer to enjoy later but you don't want to open any of it (or rarely do you want to open any of it) because once you enjoy it, it is gone (unless you have something more valuable than a pig named Beef).
As for the folks who created the videos at the other end of the links at the end of this post, I do wonder when the last time was that they enjoyed a bottle from their collections, did they seek to replace the bottles they enjoy with a bottle of the same beer from the same year, etc. But the one thing that piques my interest more than either of the other two 'wonders' is what kind of arrangement or negotiation (if any) with their significant other, roommate, etc. needed to be agreed upon before the beer cellars were allowed to take shape.
I do know that my hesitation to open what beer I have collected is ridiculous. I am supposed to enjoy the beer I have and I should share it with other beer fans. Beer is not supposed to be put away and left alone due to the fear of never being able to enjoy it again. Fortunately, I am getting married this November, and I think that occasion will warrant the sharing of a nice chunk of the beer in my collection. I think that after the beer has been shared, and the bottles rinsed and prepped for homebrew, I will review my decision to share my prized stuff with people who (probably) could not care less about why I valued it so much. I may regret sharing the beer, but hopefully the voice of logic that is my fiance (I did have a voice of logic but it keeps to itself these days) will speak up and remind me 'now you have more room to add more beer'.
Beer cellar videos: