Our contributors reflect on the quest for rare beer.
Act on the opportunity to buy several vintages of a particularly excellent beer, because getting a group together for a vertical tasting is a ton of fun and a great way to hone your pallet.―Rob Ulich
For me, beer acquisition has transcended the concept of a list and become a general principle. If I’m traveling and I see something that I can’t get in Chicago or haven’t tried yet, I buy it. Simple. And, if I return to the spot where I bought something that I liked, I usually find that something new has emerged, so I get that instead.―Jerald O’Kennard
If you happen to find these brews at retail always buy an extra one to have tucked away for when either the weather is bad, the world ain’t right or you just need a reason to give a damn about something.―Rick Lyke
I also like to bring back bottle-conditioned beers and dip the crowns in melted paraffin to help maintain freshness. Also, age the yeasty brews for six months or more in the beer fridge: It brings back memories of the trip to sip the beer in a different season.―Lucy Saunders
Of course, for someone who comes from Europe, most U.S. craft beers may seem to be rare, simply because they are unavailable over here. What I really miss here in Europe are beers with surprising ingredients. Elysian’s Avatar Jasmine IPA with Jasmine flowers, the kriek-infused Three Philosopher’s Ale (and the Chocolate Indulgence) from Ommegang, Midas Touch from Dogfish Head and Bear Republic’s Holiday Spice all fall into this category.―Conrad Seidl
There’s another key variable in play here: space. All of my friends who collect rare bottles live in houses, or have substantially more space than I do. That’s why it’s quite rare for beers to last very long at my place. I either drink them up or bring them to other events.―Steve Hamburg
It’s never been easier to identify and acquire the “best of” beers. In fact, because of trading, I’d guess that―depending on the diligence of the person shipping you beer―beer might be arriving fresher than much of what is on the shelves at home.―Stan Hieronymus
Julie Johnson is the technical editor of All About Beer Magazine.