Much like that friend of yours who eats two squares of chocolate and puts the rest back in the fridge, the idea of not drinking alcohol that’s right there in your house causes a lot of suspicion. Why aren’t you drinking it? Are you saving it for special guests like the Most Interesting Man In the World? Is it poisoned and you’re waiting for your in-laws to come over? Or maybe you robbed a liquor store and accidentally took beer instead of cash.
So why on earth would anyone be interested in storing beer? In case of an apocalypse. Obviously. When it comes to world-wide disasters, most of the survival focus goes to water, weapons, and zombie-approved finger foods. I don’t know about you, but in the event of a global catastrophe, I want to be drunk as a skunk. Hence a basement full of yeast-fermented malt-flavored beverages with hops.
Check out these tips for storing beer properly in case of an apocalypse (or, you know, because you’re having a party next week and want to keep your six pack fresh):
Upright Or On Its Side?
That’s the beer we’re talking about, not you, Blotto Bill. Some people believe that you ought to store beer on its side like a bottle of wine, especially if it has a cork. If you’re thinking “Beer bottles have corks?” you wouldn’t be the only one. Not many American breweries use corks, but when they do it’s usually a large-sized, special occasion beer with cork and cage. (Which sounds a lot like the last party I attended, come to think of it.)
But unless they’re sloshed, most people agree that all beer should be stored upright. This ensures that the sediment stays on the bottom and that the cork or cap doesn’t affect the taste of the beverage. Also, if you’re retrieving a fresh case for a party wherein you’re already three sheets to the wind, having to tip your head sideways to read the label is just plain dangerous.
Basement Or Bathroom?
Lots of people like to stash various well-needed items around the house, in their car or at work for easy retrieval in case of emergencies. Like pictures of George Clooney. When it comes to beer, however, there’s only one place where you should store it: your stomach. Kidding. In the basement (or cellar if you’re English nobility). If you’re prone to drinking like it’s 1999 and you need a safeguard, you can also lock it up in a climate-controlled storage unit.
The point is, beer needs to be stored in an environment that is dark, dry, and cold. And no, your ex’s soul doesn’t count. Light breaks down the hop compounds, which results in a skunky smell, so only store it incorrectly if you need a quick ruse to empty out the party. The ideal temperature is 50-55 degrees Fahrenheit and kegs and dark-glass bottles are the preferred vessels for beer storage.
Age It Or Gulp It?
Unless you see yourself as a beverage connoisseur, someone with exceptional patience and self-discipline, or are an alcoholic, attempting to age your beer is always silly. Okay, not always. But certified cicerone (i.e. beer expert) Mike Reis states that “nine times out of ten, there is no benefit whatsoever to letting that beer get any older than it is at this very moment.” (And by the way, guess who’s going to be referring to herself as a “certified cicerone” when she’s wasted at her cousin’s wedding next month?) If you’d like to give aging your beer a shot, start with a strong beer like old ale, imperial stout, Belgian strong dark ale, or lambic. Follow the tips above, and don’t touch it for at least six months.
On the other hand, if you’re simply storing eighteen cases of beer for your Walking Dead party (because that’s how drunk you need to be to watch a show about maggot-infested flesh, blood-spattered walls, and face-eating zombies), then buy it that day to ensure freshness, and follow the tips above. The best way to serve beer in this context is probably to chuck cans at your party guests. In any other situation, place the neck of the bottle or edge of the can on the rim of a clean glass, and quickly pour the liquid to produce a nice head of foam, which releases carbonation into the air, not into you.
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