A Craft Beer Ideot...December / by Kian West


Whenever I shop for craft beer, I hear that song in my head, you know, the one that goes   

"All I wanna do is *Gunshot sound* and take your money" *Cash register sound* 


I forget who it's by so I'm just gonna say R-Kelly.


Aside from this being mental problem of mine, it illustrates aptly the way that discerning craft beer drinkers can feel when they check their bank balance at the end of the week (usually on payday, sitting in the pub, desperately refreshing our mobile banking apps). It's not that we feel robbed as it were, its more that we feel like we truly pay for our good taste. (Its different for wine drinkers, they can buy two bottles of whatever and call it a weekend!) Craft drinkers are unique in that if we see a selection of new release or imported ales we have to try them. All of them. In one night. Regardless of if we have school the next morning. 


This can get expensive if you enjoy drinking Cantillon, Bruery or Garage Project beers for example, but lucky for us, we live in Newcastle, a land of plenty when it comes to excellent bottle shops, areas of outstanding natural beauty and most importantly; beer drinkers ready to share the wealth. So maybe it's time you expanded your pallet and saved some coins, maybe it's time to host your own 'bottle-share night’, here's how:


The first step is going to be a fairly easy one, you need to wrangle a manageable number of beer drinking people together on the same evening, you can organise this however you see fit, maybe using futuristic mediums like the World Wide Web, or going old-school and, you know, just asking them to their faces if they would like to try a dozen all-time great beers for the price of two!


Ok good. Now that you've piqued their interest it's time for you to lay out the plot. You want them to head out to one of Newcastles many fine bottle shops and pick out two (or more) fancy ales that they either love or would love to try, 750ml beers work well for sharing. You need to be clear however that a 'longy of New' simply will not cut the mustard, they may need some gentle guidance, so feel free to set a theme for the evening, possibly 'hearty stouts' or 'super bitter IPAs', but please, don't even think about bringing a cider, there's no point in cider. 


Now the rest is really up to you, maybe you head to King Edward Park with a picnic, or perhaps you'd rather sit on the deck and fire up the barbie (my mate Mitch has a good one if you're really struggling), or you may keep your bottle-share simple, with pizzas and PlayStation - there's no limit to where the ales can take you, just remember to bring plastic cups.


Regardless of the location the aim is to share a little of each beer and hopefully be pleasantly surprised by a little known ale that you would never have tried otherwise, the more obscure the beer, the better the conversations. If one of the brews on offer aint so bueno that's ok, I've attended a few shares myself where I had to politely choke down a dodgy home brewed saison, or an out-of-date tall can of Pabst, but that's half of the charm, you never really know what people will bring along. 


A bottle share night is all about sharing some really great beers with old mates and new friends, it's kind of like 'Come Dine With Me' but with people that you don't want to choke out. Newy is the perfect town for a beer lover and has some incredible locals to share it with in beautiful locations. So try out your own frugal beverage share, you might find that it takes you on a vision quest to great beer, and possibly afterwards, to a karaoke night in Hamilton. See you there!