Explaining bottle share to newbies

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by mxzebrax, Jan 6, 2016.

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  1. mxzebrax

    mxzebrax Initiate (0) Jun 20, 2015 Oregon

    So a local Facebook group "x County Beer Advocates" is trying to organize a bottle share at a local bottle shop. They've created an event, and people are interested in coming, but few on the page actually know what a bottle share is.

    I've shared a few links I've found on Google, but would love some suggestions on how to explain a bottle share, and hopefully make sure people don't just show up with their shelf beers that are easily available. (For reference, I'd say it's highly plausible that 90% of the Facebook group doesn't know what Zombie Dust, Sip of Sunshine, or Heady Topper are, or why they're important.)
     
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  2. Dan_K

    Dan_K Zealot (515) Nov 8, 2013 Colorado
    Trader

    Bring a bottle, share it.
     
  3. Giantspace

    Giantspace Champion (877) Dec 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    Here we go again. Beer is not important. Not everyone has access to "rare" beers. If you can't accept newbies showing up with shelf beer don't put the share out there for anyone that wants to come. There is a great share here called stone soup and there are no requirements of what you bring. Seems to work well.

    Enjoy
     
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  4. CraigP83

    CraigP83 Defender (612) Dec 19, 2014 Minnesota
    Trader

    What's to explain? The name says it all: Bottle (Bring a bottle) Share (Share it)
     
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  5. KingforaDay

    KingforaDay Crusader (735) Aug 5, 2010 New Jersey
    Trader

    I think if you have to ask how to explain "What is a bottle share to a newbie" you probably fall into the "newbie" category yourself. Not that there's anything wrong with that. The whole idea is to share good beer and knowledge with others. And nothing wrong with "shelf" beers at a bottle share. Whoever said bottle shares have to be "rare" beers?
    And worrying that others might not bring the quality of beers you plan on bringing goes against everything a bottle share should stand for in the 1st place.
     
    #5 KingforaDay, Jan 6, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2016
  6. Schmizer

    Schmizer Initiate (0) Oct 15, 2015 Wisconsin

    I would suggest if you have a group that is just getting into beer, that a great way to get everyone on the same page is to post a particular style to bring and amount (i.e. imperial stout, bring 1 bomber or 2-12oz bottles) and schedule the shares on a rotating basis. If you start these shares by doing a style, people can compare and contrast and learn about beer they haven't had and expand their palates. Some will be more generous with bigger/rarer beers, but this is still fun for all, as it becomes about comparisons and people can come on a day that they like that particular style, so it brings different people together.
     
  7. Dravin

    Dravin Initiate (0) Apr 27, 2014 Indiana

    Nothing about a bottle share necessitates it be rarer beer, people who enjoy beer can have a grand old time sharing shelf beer. Rather than trying to get 90% of the group to hunt down rare beer (when you feel they wouldn't know it from a sixer on the shelf) to bring I'd suggest your efforts are better spent letting the 10% know that lots of people will be bringing shelf beer and to not bring something rare if the thought of sharing it in such a setting upsets them.

    Alternatively you could collaborate with the 10% to share some rarer (but not necessarily super rare) beers and use it as an educational opportunity. You say they don't even know what those beers are, or why they're a big deal, take the opportunity to educate a fellow beer advocate. You may be able to either change the nature of the group bottle share or find enough people to do a rare bottle share separate from the normal bottle share.
     
  8. Canada_Dan

    Canada_Dan Savant (904) Jun 14, 2013 Colorado

    Maybe set a theme like "stouts and other winter beers," to help those noobs know what to bring. If someone shows up with a 6er of Celebration, are you really gonna be mad brah?
     
  9. drtth

    drtth Initiate (0) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    If the folks who will be coming are genuinely new to the world of flavorful beer, sometimes shelf beers are the best choice.

    Simply have the organizer pick several different widely available beers and assign each participant a particular amount of a particular beer to find, buy and bring for sharing. (And let the participants know how to tell if the beer is fresh or not.)

    The organizer should also prepare a handout that can be given to each participate that descibes who brewed the beer, what flavors they might find in the beer, and some of the possible food and beer pairings possible for each beer.
     
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  10. Mantooth

    Mantooth Initiate (0) Dec 6, 2011 North Carolina

    I live in a small town, Cramerton, about fifteen minutes from Charlotte. This isn't meant to be a brag or anything - but I'm a brewer and I've got around 200 beers in my cellar. I've been asked by three different local groups to participate in bottle shares. I joined in the one I thought would be the most fruitful, but mostly it was me opening C's Better Half, or another grand one-off, for people who had never heard of the brews I was uncapping. Now - this will make me sound like a dick - but when I pop a mega-rare brew, I'd like the folks I'm opening it for to understand the importance of it. I don't attend any of the three groups now. I have - however - attended some shares put on by a chap in SC - and I break out the big hitters for that one. The guys (about 8) all know their shit and all bring great stuff. The organizer, for instance, brought a five year vertical of Dark Lord for our last event.

    My advice to you - keep your share simple to start out with. Don't bring anything you'll regret opening for folks unfamiliar with the greats. Snag some easily obtained but lesser known brews and feel the crowd out.
     
  11. pagriley

    pagriley Meyvn (1,023) Oct 27, 2014 Illinois

    Sounds like you just need to adjust your expectations, and not try and change the behavior of the majority who will attend... There is nothing wrong with a shelf beer share - there are so many great beers out there, and a simple share is a great way to try some of them that I might have missed. Hell, even if someone brings a Lagunitas bomber, I can't even remember the last time I had one - I might re-discover a favorite that i have been ignoring because it isn't 'rare' or new...
     
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  12. JayORear

    JayORear Meyvn (1,359) Feb 22, 2012 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    I think OP is opening himself up to a lot of criticism here. It sounds like he's promoting a pretty snob-centric view towards bottle shares, with "important" beers and so on. At the same time, there's a way of making it clear that bottle shares can give newbies a chance to try beers they night not otherwise be able to, and open up their horizons and palates. I've been to plenty of bottle shares that included shelf beers and everyone survived just fine.

    EDIT: Can we agree not to call beers "important"?
     
  13. gopens44

    gopens44 Poo-Bah (2,381) Aug 9, 2010 Virginia
    Society Trader

    Nope, doesn't sound dick-ish at all. Put it in these terms - if a baseball card collector broke out a Mickey Mantle rookie card in the presence of just, sports fans that wanted to BS about sports stuff, only to have people almost immediately dismiss the card as "meh...... It looks like other cards...." than this is not the proper group for such an enthusiast. While I am not saying you are in need of approval, I will say that you likely want to share the moment with like minded fellows.

    Somewhere in that ramble there's a point....just saying that the "ooohs and aaahhs" are part of the excitement. Hell, I can pop open a Heady to no grandeur in my own house.....

    *Edit - never been to a bottle share in my life, so never experienced "grandeur".....just saying.
     
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  14. mxzebrax

    mxzebrax Initiate (0) Jun 20, 2015 Oregon

    Thanks to those who provided real, thoughtful answers. I didn't mention important beers to sound condescending or anything at all, and I'm not coming at this with any sort of snobbery. The beer share has been scheduled and announced and many people have asked what it is, so it's not a simple, bring a bottle and share it type answer to them (I've tried).
     
  15. pagriley

    pagriley Meyvn (1,023) Oct 27, 2014 Illinois

    @JayORear - agreed. That said, there isn't anything wrong with wanting to do a whale share, but it is usually something you have to organize carefully and communicate in a nice way to people you already know and have done shares with before (pick your audience so to speak).

    Just save your whales for next time. I guarantee there will be 3 or 4 like minded people at this 'basic' share (for want of a better term) and you can start up a monthly tasting group or something (that is what I did). There will always be people who just don't trade or whatever is needed to get whales - my best friend isn't into that, but I invite him every time and just cover his bottle with something from my stash - I want to share with my best buddy!

    That said, you do have to be aware of what I refer to as "el grande moocher" - the guy who you know has a kick-arse cellar and is always posting pics of the rare beers he is drinking, but rocks up to every share with a shelf turd even when they know others are bringing serious stuff... Incidentally this is often the same guy who pours himself 5 or 6 ounces of the biggest whale at the table and leaves only enough for everyone else to have an ounce or 2... Punch that guy in the face. I hate that guy.:angry::stuck_out_tongue:
     
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  16. JayORear

    JayORear Meyvn (1,359) Feb 22, 2012 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    Good point. I have a friend who's taking baby steps into craft beer, and I almost always cover for him at shares. He's always grateful to be exposed to new beers and has even started bringing some tasty stuff on his own.
     
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  17. DaverCS

    DaverCS Initiate (0) Dec 9, 2014 Arizona

    If your weary of cracking open rare bottles on people who may not appreciate them, don't bring them to the share! If you are the individual hosting/ organizing the bottle share and are concerned about people bringing low quality beers, make it a requirement that the beer has to have a BeerAdvocate rating of above 90 points. That way everyone's happy. They may not be whales, but at least the beer wont suck!

    On a side note, when you are there, take note of individuals who are knowledgeable about the craft. Then, invite them to a smaller bottle share of your own to break open a few rare bottles on people who can appreciate it!
     
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  18. champ103

    champ103 Poo-Bah (5,135) Sep 3, 2007 Texas
    Society

    You guys make bottle shares really difficult. It is a simple idea, bring beer so share with people. I always tell people if they feel intimidated, or don't have anything they want to bring, just bring a meat and cheese plate or something to eat. There is always WAY to much beer to drink anyway. I have gotten creative with cheese plates before that were as popular as the beer, as well as smoked a brisket. If it is a public share, you really can't complain at what people bring. If it is invite only, ask whoever is hosting what they expect. Not difficult.

    Oh, that reminds me, I forgot to post this months Houston Gingerman bottle share...this will be remedied shortly :slight_smile:
     
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  19. Jaycase

    Jaycase Meyvn (1,436) Jan 13, 2007 Illinois
    Trader

    There is no better example of elitism & exclusivity in craft beer than looking down on what people bring to a bottle share or not allowing a newbie to come because their beer is arbitrarily deemed not good enough (' sorry bud, gotta step up your whalez game').
    Oh, I get it. Only like minded enthusiasts can appreciate the travails involved in obtaining mega rare brew X. The bottle count. The number of preceding trades needed to eventually land it. The number of limited releases & associated 'challenges' needed for those preceding trades. A newbie might enjoy X as a beer, but they will not appreciate all the other factors. And beer is so much more than about appearance, aroma, taste and feel.
     
  20. DVMin98

    DVMin98 Poo-Bah (3,776) Nov 1, 2010 North Carolina
    Moderator Society Trader

    Come share without Wes down near waxhaw. We do the Rarez
     
  21. mxzebrax

    mxzebrax Initiate (0) Jun 20, 2015 Oregon

    Thanks again everyone- I just hope it's clear that the intent and spirit of this thread was to ensure a good experience for everyone attending the bottle share. As a birdwatcher as well, I've seen my fair share of elitism within that group (believe me- ornithologists can be scary), so really I'm just trying to make sure the bottle share is all inclusive and comfortable for everyone.

    And maybe "important" wasn't the right word, but it's what I came up with to explain beers that many of us would seek out. And I think I disagree that a beer can't be "important". To many of us, myself included the "important" beers are what get us on BeerAdvocate, get us trading, and eventually get us looking for more quality beer.
     
  22. Mantooth

    Mantooth Initiate (0) Dec 6, 2011 North Carolina

    You must be part of the Rock Hill share group?
     
  23. DVMin98

    DVMin98 Poo-Bah (3,776) Nov 1, 2010 North Carolina
    Moderator Society Trader

    Nah, the Salud group. We just tend to hover a lot down in Waxhaw
     
  24. DVMin98

    DVMin98 Poo-Bah (3,776) Nov 1, 2010 North Carolina
    Moderator Society Trader

    And I meant share 'with us Wes' not 'without Wes' lol...sorry about the typo!
     
  25. Mantooth

    Mantooth Initiate (0) Dec 6, 2011 North Carolina

    Yeah - it was the typo that got me wondering - "who the hell is this guy?" Love to be part of a Waxhaw share - drop me a line!
     
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  26. balmand

    balmand Initiate (0) Oct 18, 2015 New Jersey

    I'm inclined to lean more towards the belief that there's nothing wrong with shelf beer with the caveat of sharing the "rare" beers with people who will be able to appreciate the effort it takes to obtain them sometimes. For example, I was absolutely floored when someone showed up unannounced to a buddies house with a can of Heady once and I know I'd want to feel just as appreciated if I had done the same.
     
  27. Dravin

    Dravin Initiate (0) Apr 27, 2014 Indiana

    Since you say you've tried to explain in simple terms of bringing beer to share I'm assuming they responded to your explanation, what are their responses? They'd be helpful in knowing just what is throwing them off balance about the whole idea.
     
  28. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (3,032) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Society Trader

    You may be overthinking this.
     
  29. Ext

    Ext Initiate (0) Aug 17, 2012 District of Columbia

    Totally with you on this one, brother.

    I was once at bottle share that included some Newbies, and saw someone take a sip of their 2 oz pour of Utopias, and then they immediately poured it down the sink to the horror of several of us. I you don't like a beer, that's okay, but to pour it out instead of giving it away to someone who can appreciate it was gut-wrenching...

    Whenever I go to a bottle share and I don't know exactly who all will be there, I bring a range of beers: good shelf beers, out-of-state stuff, harder to get stuff, special brewery release only stuff, and some lower tier whales. I open up what's appropriate for the people I'm drinking with, and usually open up something that's one tier up so I can introduce people to some of the "better" or "rarer stuff" that they normally couldn't get.
     
  30. macewank

    macewank Initiate (168) Aug 28, 2010 Illinois

    Bottle shares should be about sharing beer. Period. If it's shelf? That's great. If I like it, I can go buy some. If it's rare? That's also great. I got the chance to try something I would not have otherwise been able to.

    If you want a narrowed share, you need to narrow the audience. Sounds to me like the folks you want to invite aren't your target audience.
     
  31. Beerbom

    Beerbom Crusader (740) Dec 20, 2014 California
    Trader

    So I say this having never attended an actual bottle share. I share practically 75-80% of my beers with my two buddies who don't trade and really don't drink much bought outside of the local grocery stores and an occasional liquor store. I guess I would be a bit disappointed if I went to a bottle share and found the vast majority of beers there were shelf beer especially when I know that I would certainly bring something along the more rare spectrum of beers to share. My expectations would be that others would be bringing more rare, difficult to obtain beers to share, as I would. I know better than to bring a true whale until I really know who the crowd is that I'm sharing it with. I guess like many things in life you need to understand the crowd you're dealing with. I like Gopens44's analogy with the Mickey Mantle baseball card though. I really like DaverCS's idea to ask that people bring beers that rate 90 or higher on BA though for sure….this is brilliant and I think would solve a lot of problems and eliminate a lot of concern for more avid collectors/attendees. DaverCS's comment is congruent with Mantooth's and I agree with him when he says that "when I pop a mega-rare brew, I'd like the folks I'm opening it for to understand the importance of it".

    I do think you guys are being a little harsh on the OP when he says about "why these beers are important". His point is well taken (by me anyway)…certain beers have more relevance than others. Zombie Dust, Heady and SOS are strongly sought after, highly rated, difficult to obtain beers therefore they are more, let's say, interesting or intriguing than say Lagunitas IPA or Alaskan Amber which are readily available EVERYWHERE. While I agree, the OP has a chance to educate many people by sharing great beers with people who aren't up on the latest and greatest, I don't think he should have to be the only guy showing up there with great beers to share.
     
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  32. macewank

    macewank Initiate (168) Aug 28, 2010 Illinois

    I think the easiest way to explain why this point of view isn't necessarily the right one to have is to simply say this:

    I can get Zombie Dust whenever I want where I live. I can't get Alaskan Amber where I live.

    Obviously that skews a bit when your share audience is all in the same area, but it kind of holds true even then. Availability and ability to obtain are both subjective. If you don't want to run the risk of someone attending who doesn't have access to the tier of beer you're looking, you need to curate the invite list.
     
  33. DVMin98

    DVMin98 Poo-Bah (3,776) Nov 1, 2010 North Carolina
    Moderator Society Trader

    The one thing I have learned when doing a share with people that have never been to a share...make sure you explain pour size. We had a share with about 10 guys and we had one of our friends that would take about a 6 ounce pour from a bomber, the first two we opened, which basically left 16 ounces between 9 other people.
     
  34. Ext

    Ext Initiate (0) Aug 17, 2012 District of Columbia

    OP's situation is a little different--it's not his party so it's not his list to curate.

    Would you advise him to still attend the bottle share and only bring shelf beers, so that if someone does brings a rare beer/whale he gets to enjoy the whale while offering nothing similar in return? Honest question--when you go to bottle shares with unknown or Newbie attendees, do you always bring rare/whales and happily accept only shelf pours in return?
     
  35. macewank

    macewank Initiate (168) Aug 28, 2010 Illinois

    Honestly? Bring bag with a couple of bottles. Crack what you end up feeling comfortable cracking.
     
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  36. Schmizer

    Schmizer Initiate (0) Oct 15, 2015 Wisconsin

    I bring an assortment of rarer bottles and awesome shelf beers when I'm not sure of my audience. But I'm an overplanner...lol. I like to have my bases covered.

    I was at a bottle share recently where one person brought a single 12oz bottle of CW BBBW. It was like gold to him and I took pleasure in him sharing it even though it wasn't a high end beer. To him it was and that was cool.
     
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  37. mxzebrax

    mxzebrax Initiate (0) Jun 20, 2015 Oregon

    So, who wants to send me some Heady for this party?! I'm all out!

    I'll likely bring a Backwoods and Abrasive.
     
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  38. Ext

    Ext Initiate (0) Aug 17, 2012 District of Columbia

    Totally agree. Whenever I go to a bottle share and I don't know exactly who all will be there, I bring a range of beers: good shelf beers, out-of-state stuff, harder to get stuff, special brewery release only stuff, and some lower tier whales. I open up what's appropriate for the people I'm drinking with, and usually open up something that's one tier up so I can introduce people to some of the "better" or "rarer stuff" that they normally couldn't get.
     
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  39. Schmizer

    Schmizer Initiate (0) Oct 15, 2015 Wisconsin

    Exactly what I do.
     
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  40. CraigP83

    CraigP83 Defender (612) Dec 19, 2014 Minnesota
    Trader

    Title needs to be changed to "Explaining bottle share to beer snobs"
     
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