Storage can have a profound impact on beverage quality, as feckless exposure to light or heat can ruin any beer. In addition, even the most carefully produced and handled beer can deteriorate over time; some simply don’t age well. But some brews, given proper conditions, are made to cellar or “lay down.” Bottle-conditioned beers—which run the gamut from homebrew, micros, and many famous Belgian and English ales—can undergo an exquisite transformation over time. The yeast dose that is responsible for carbonating the beer can create a multitude of subtle nuances that add complexity and/or round smoothness. Some beers can be kept for decades or more, and the vintages enjoyed in vertical tastings. Even filtered brews can gain complexity over the years as the nuances marry and make over the brew. Old Ales and Barleywines are noted for this phenomenon.
When one thinks of transporting beer, the image that comes to mind is of a large logoed truck, moving every form of packaged beer imaginable. Micros, regional, and major breweries have the option, based on their packaging prowess, of realizing widespread distribution. Brewpubs tend to stay close to home (as their base is local), but fresh growlers bearing the brewer’s logo and kegs or 5-gallon sixtel kegs help get the word out for the local guys. A well-made bottle-conditioned homebrew can withstand shipping, and what could be better than getting a package of a one-of-a-kind, small-batch bottle of beer in the mail—the ultimate personal touch?