What do 38 Degrees, The Factory, Congregation Ale House and Chloe’s have in common (other than great beer, of course)? Answer. They have all recently hosted a bottle share, or in the case of Chloe’s, is hosting one tonight.
For the uninitiated, a bottle share is pretty self-explanatory. A group gathers and shares craft beer. But there are a few quirks that are worth explaining.
It is best to know the amount of people at the event so you can bring the right amount of beer. You don’t want to show up with one bomber and have to spread the wealth among 20 people. It is better to “over” bring bottles than “under.”
That being said, take your time and enjoy each beer. There will be times when a great beer will pass by and your glass will have another beer in it. Ask for the person to come back around later if there is any beer left in the bottle. Rest assured, another great beer will take the place of that one if that bottle empties.
Next, bring something special. And that doesn’t mean merely by price. It could be a regular pilsner but if there is a story behind it or it comes from a brewery that doesn’t distribute in L.A. then it will be a good addition to the share. Remember that the goal is to share great beer and not to show off your great beer collection.
Finally, bring a variety of beers. Different styles and breweries. Because you will need to take the temperature of the room. By that, I mean, figure out if people are IPA’d out then crack open a saison. If there are a bevy of Imperial Stouts, start pouring a sour for contrast. Or, if there is a trend of Bruery beers and you have one too, bring it out to create a bottle share taster tray.
Also pay attention to the house rules. There might be specific rules to follow or a theme so make sure you read the event description thoroughly.
But most of all, have fun pouring your beer to an appreciative audience (and getting great beer in return)!
Your Beer of the Week would not be out of place at a bottle share event. It is a collaboration between the Monks of New Clairvaux and Sierra Nevada Brewing. Quad with plums is (according to their website) “heady with aromas of caramel, rich malt, and dark fruit-balanced by the spiciness and delicate fruity notes of a traditional Belgian yeast. This beer features sugar plums grown on the grounds of the Abbey, and harvested by the monks in Vina.”
This week’s Homework is to get yourself a carrier for when you need to transport your bottles to the next bottle share that you attend. Preferably with a component that helps chill the bottles and keep them from clinking wildly as you drive through our turbulent L.A. traffic. Or you could go the other way and check out the website, Uncommon Goods which has a cool wooden tote made from “redwood beams reclaimed from salvage yards.”
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.