On Hoarding: Beer, Love and the Ability to Let Go

cool story bro beer

Perhaps the hardest thing to accept for many of us is that life is only takes place in the present moment. Our past glories are gone and the future is an unwritten story we want to believe will be nothing but spectacular.

In reality, however, we’re as clueless as the next person what our future holds. But for some beer lovers, that matters little.

Perhaps this is simply the time we live in. A time when rarities and one-offs are at an all-time high. When the greatest beers we can muster are heralded flashes in the pan.

But instead of gobbling them up, we hold them tight. We wait. We plan. We hoard.

Many of you may have seen the most recent treatise on fallacy of hoarding beer, pointing out the callousness of buying, buying, buying and the failure to really stop and smell the roses. Or is that hops?

But here’s the thing: hoarding is our modern, inalienable right. While there are certainly those that give into the obsession around the world, the act feels uniquely, capitalistic American. Not for TV shows that highlight our need for MORE, but for the feeling of excellence that comes with a well-stocked cellar and bragging rights that come with it.

If you care to boil it down, you could argue that hoarding is about status – whether to ourselves or someone else – and the ability to measure up. It’s equated with the thought that more is better and better always means more.

More bottles. More ABV. More regard as some kind of master of a coveted dungeon that doesn’t hold monsters or traps, but a treasure trove of liquid bliss.

When we hoard beer, who does it benefit? Ourselves, of course. It makes us feel good. It makes us feel ready for the day we can relive our past glories.

In the end, however, all it does is offer us some kind of euphoria between our perfected nostalgia of yesterday and the inevitability of tomorrow. Ignorance may be bliss, but my glass is empty and today’s just getting started.

+Bryan Roth
“Don’t drink to get drunk. Drink to enjoy life.” — Jack Kerouac

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12 thoughts on “On Hoarding: Beer, Love and the Ability to Let Go

  1. One of my best friends, who also has a large cellar, and I debated this heavily a few months back and decided we were both on the boarder of hoarder but have begun to turn back.

    My new outlook is that all of my beers are shelf turds, none is more special then the rest, and all can be consumed whenever by whomever for whatever reason. I often invite my friends to choose freely from the shelves because a beer with friends is better then a beer alone.

    The only exception here is Westy 12 which I have a plan for. 1 per year for 5 years to test the truth if it is truly best after 5 years.

    • That’s a great approach to it. Your outlook is certainly an ideal one to have, if only for your friends!

      I won’t bother purposefully aging a beer unless there’s an experiment or special occasion involved. Mostly, I find my “cellar” (a corner of my pantry) filling up at times when homebrew batches are ready to drink. I just started in on a new “session” IPA batch and that’s caused something of a backup both in my fridge and cellar.

      A good problem to have, for sure.

  2. I had a friend pass away last summer who left behind an entire BEDROOM of beer because he was a connoisseur. The loot was divvied amongst great friends and some auctioned off for charities, but it still seemed like we made out with at least 1 entire (crispers included) fridge full. I’m begging the boyfriend to let us drink it. Hoarding it does no one any good.

    Walt, you are sorely missed and we will toast you with every bottle we open.

  3. I’ve never reached hoarder status, but I have let a few wine bottles sit around too long because after cellaring them for 7 years, there never seemed to be an event grandiose enough to open them. Sooner or later you gotta pop’m and drink’m. Same goes for beer.

    Although I suspect there are people out there who once they get a hold of some Darklord or Pliny (etc), will never open it because they’ll always want to be able to say they have some in their beer fridge. The everlasting beer hoarder ego stroke.

    • An inflating ego is a powerful thing. On the flipside, I felt pretty awful for essentially expiring those Hopslam bottles, but we all have our vices.

      It wasn’t long ago I thought simply stockpiling beer would be impossible for me, but I found that out of sight, out of mind really works in this case, as you can certainly attest with your wine!

  4. I’ve been likening certain craft beer groups more and more to kids collecting Pokemon cards. “Gotta catch ’em all”. It’s not about the beer, it’s about the person buying the beer or hoarding the beer so they can say look at me. Look at me and my status as a craft beer connoisseur. I have 460 bottles stacked in my basement next to my Costco sized Tide containers. I don’t know what any of those beers taste like, but one day I will. Isn’t that neat?

  5. When I was researching my home for the amount of beers I had I realized that there was a good amount of stouts that I have set back for no other reason than to give them a little time. This being said I do have a 6 pack of mad elf that I am going to drink one bottle of each year. This being said any IPAs I have set aside I am drinking stat!

    • I’m also a fan of the staggered approach. I don’t think there’s harm in a plan, but saving for the sake of waiting and “just because” is too much.

      You’ve got a plan! Stick to it and enjoy.

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