Tired of throwing the same holiday cocktail party every December? This season, try mixing things up by hosting a bottle share for your favorite beer drinkers. “In the spirit of holiday gathering, there’s really nothing better than a group of enthusiastic beer drinkers sharing their prized bottles or special finds and talking about each brew,” says Collin Clark, certified Cicerone and tasting room manager at Palmetto Brewery in Charleston, South Carolina. “I always find myself interested in what others have to say about particular beers,” he adds, “and most often, people will have a different opinion or pick up on a different characteristic of particular beers that I missed.” Here are Clark’s tips for hosting or joining a holiday bottle share.
Hydration is key.
“At any bottle share, you’re likely to be consuming quite a bit of beer, even if it’s only a couple of ounces at a time,” says Clark. “Large-format or rare and coveted beers tend to be higher in alcohol as well. Keep a glass of water at hand at all times—it will also help as a palate cleanser between tastes!”
Don’t be greedy.
“Keep in mind that there are other folks sharing those bottles,” advises Clark. “Don’t tip that bottle up and hog a hefty 12-ounce pour for yourself. Keep it to a 2- to 4-ounce taste.”
Bring your best.
“The flip side of rule #2 is that you should be sure to bring your best,” says Clark. “Don’t use a bottle share as an excuse to get rid of an improperly stored and oxidized beer—this is no time for a 3-year-old IPA. You should be just as excited about the beer you bring—and sharing it—as you are about the beers brought by the rest of the group.”
“From winter warmers to big boozy Russian Imperial Stouts and everything in between, there’s a place for all beers at a bottle share,” says Clark. “Not sure what to bring? Step down to your favorite local bottle shop, and never be afraid to ask the folks there for advice. They are there to help, and they love what they do! Chances are, they have some awesome and unique stuff right there on the shelf, no crazy cross-country trading required!”
Be responsible and safe.
“As mentioned for rule #1, the beers featured at a bottle share are likely to be big and boozy more often than not,” says Clark. “Don’t be stupid. Drink responsibly. Call a cab, or be sure you have the Uber app installed on your phone.”