Recently, I participated in an impromptu bottle share. Now that may not seem like Extra! Extra! Type of news for a beer blogger. But in the past year or more, I have found myself avoiding the bottle shares (as well as most beer festivals), because of two Viagra-ish reasons.
1.Fear of Inadequacy
2.Lack of Stamina
I know that I should confidently stride into any bottle share. It isn’t a game of who has the biggest…well bottle. But I do feel measured for what I bring. If I bring a vintage 2013 caged & corked limited release, I should feel good about it. But I will look over and see that there is an older bottle to the left, a more limited edition to the right and I deflate. That feeling is not helped by the bragadoccio of the typical bottle share participant. They skew to the snobbish and I feel like a democrat at a republican debate being snided at by Trump, or worse Huckabee.
Maybe if I cultivated a larger cellar and spent more money on beer than the obscene amount that I already do, then I would have that alpha male strut and confidence. But right now, I always feel like I brought the wrong gift to the party.
Then comes the palate fatigue. Most bottle shares usually center on the barrel-aged stouts and the high alcohol monsters. Even when you pace yourself and drink double the amount of water to beer, you will get tired. One beer starts to taste like the next and you find yourself overwhelmed. At this point in my craft beer drinking career, I have come to embrace the small and curated festivals. The ones where you get 5-10 tasters and no more. I paradoxically feel better leaving a festival that I didn’t try every last beer that I wanted to. If a festival is an all-you-can-drink buffet, then I curate it myself by creating my own personal festival within a festival. Maybe I will drink only sours or only the beers of the two breweries that I have never heard of before. Anything to put parameters on the event.
I don’t expect bottle shares to change just for me. I am not that stubborn. But it will probably take a reimagining or re-booting of the classic format for me to hop back into that bed.