Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Cellaring Series: Interview with Jeremy Teiber

I’m starting a new series that delves into the issue of cellaring beer like what are the reasons to do this, how long have them been doing this, and how many bottles are too much.  I will be interviewing some friends that have large quantities in their possession.  I’m curious to know the different ideas for cellaring beer.  A few weeks ago I interviewed Jeremy Teiber, a beer enthusiasts.

Jeremy started cellaring wine many years ago so the concept isn’t new to him. He also mentioned that beer started to get better and he thought cellaring beer was the next step. To him, beer lends itself to cellaring as much as wine. He explained that with wine, it’s readily available so if you have the money it’s easy to buy the bottles) of wine until it sold out at the winery or store. Beer can be a one shot deal that if you don’t buy when available (released) it could easily be sold out in hours, luckily with the craft beer industry there’s a community of sharing. If you want a rare bottle of beer there are avenues to trade with another beer enthusiast.  Another reason he states for cellaring beer is that up until recently a super bottle of beer cost as much as a mediocre bottle of wine. You can get really good beer for less than a mediocre wine. Jeremy likes the fact that beer can be brewed with many ingredients that gives it an interesting flavor. The craft beer industry is ever looking at new ways to present a beverage with more than water, yeast, malt, and hops. In the wine industry it's different, there isn’t any way to mask a bad batch. Beer on the other hand can be put into barrels and aged, put adjuncts into the beer, and like wine can be dumped. He mentioned that at the Bruery, they brew the Arbre, a barrel-aged Stout. This beer is divided into three new American oak barrels each with a different char, a light, medium, and alligator. You can taste the difference between each of these variations. 

Beer lends itself to hoarding, those were Jeremy’s words. Hoarding in the way of accumulating many beer bottles but consuming some over time, real hoarders don’t think that way. I asked him if cellaring was intentional and he said ”no, it sort of just happened.” First him and his wife would just buy beer at the liquor store then they had a small refrigerator in the garage then it was two fridges and now it’s a basement full of beer bottles.

At this interview, Jeremy had over 3,000 bottles of beer in his basement. Yeah, he has a lot of beer from all over the world. His favorite brewery is The Bruery located in southern California where he is in the highest Societie beer club membership, the Hoarder. That was evident with the multiple Bruery boxes stacked in the basement, some empty and some full. Jeremy has vertical years in his basement.  A few years ago, Jeremy and some friends had a Avery Brewing bottle share with the barrel series at the brewery. There were 4 deep of each bottle of every beer starting with Brabant!  We don’t have any really old Avery beers, maybe three years old at best. Jeremy has a few Brabants and others in the series in his cellar.

I asked him when is it too many bottles of beer and he thought around 2,000 bottles was a good number even if he had the room that would be enough. Asked if he would stop buying and cellaring beer he said “ I met me and I’m not going to do that.”  To Jeremy this is one of his collections that will keep going.  I have a fraction of that in my cellar so I have some envy going on right now.  I asked what was his oldest beer and he couldn’t remember where it was brewed but he thinks it’s a barleywine from the mid 90’s. Our cellaring is like this, we buy beer then we either drink them over a few years or take a few bottles to share with friends that’s what Jeremy said what happens with 50-100 bottles that are cellared they’re usually drank and replenished with other beer where if you had over 100 bottles then it’s now acquiring beer that you’re not burning through fast enough.

I asked Andy Parker, Barrel Herder at Avery Brewing about cellaring their beers and he said that since most beers aren’t bottled conditioned that it should be drank sooner than later. I told Jeremy this and he didn’t flinch, he thinks it fun to see when the beer is past it’s prime.  One beer that used as example that was right for cellaring is Sierra Nevada’s Bigfoot, a barleywine. Cellaring this big beer brings out the maltiness and smooths out the bitterness that a new bottle has.

As to where cellaring will be in the future, Jeremy  thinks that the tide is shifting  with many “beer trolls” who buy beer than resell for a profit and with so many people collecting the secondary market has skyrocketing that a $25 rare beer can go for over 1000’s of dollars.

Jeremy asked if I wanted to share a beer with him but alas I had to decline. I know, what a wasted opportunity but I had another appointment that day.