Cellering Beer

Just about everyone knows about cellering wine. Storing certain wines which will improve with age & knowing when to open them to get the best flavor is a well established practice. But despite there being some traditions similar with certain old-world beers, it’s only recently become part of the current beer boom. Last night while sampling some selections from Brooklyn Brewery’s cache generously poured by brewmaster Garrett Oliver & his team of brewers it was easy to taste the difference in a few years of age on their Black Chocolate Stout. And all the while I was regaled of tales of staggering prices paid for rare & old bottles sold from the collection of one of the craft beer industry’s earliest & staunchest supporters who was well ahead of the curve. I myself had held on to a bottle of Fuller’s Vintage Ale from 1998 that I opened last year & despite the label warning to drink it within 5 years it was spectacular after 15 years. I’m curious to see how many beer-centric bars & restaurants will start their own cellering programs, & what price people will be willing to pay for these older beers.

Dave Herman is a Certified Specialist of Spirits and a native New Yorker.