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The Session: cold weather beer

The first Friday of each month brings together beer bloggers around a common topic under the banner of The Session. This month The Brew Site hosts, giving us the topic “snowed in”:


The theme is “Snowed In,” and I want it to be open-ended. It’s the first week of February—we are solidly in the grip of the winter, which means hunkering down from the cold and, depending on where you live, waiting for warmer days to thaw out the ice and snow. But perhaps it’s one of those winters, where the snow starts falling… and falling… and falling some more, and the next thing you know, schools are closed, there’s four or more feet of snow on the ground—and you are effectively snowed in and not going anywhere.

They offer a few prompts, and I was going to talk about the sort of beer I warm up with after a snowy day. An imperial stout, surely, or English style barleywine. Running through the scenario in my head, though, nothing quite seemed “right”. (This might be that I’m couch-bound with the flu at the moment, honestly) For one, I pictured pulling a bottle out of the fridge, letting it warm up for a few minutes, and then taking a sip. Still too cold!

So I realized I could instead tell you the little bit of genius I’ve learned about beer storage during the winter: use your basement.

This is probably obvious. Everyone most likely does this already. But: just in case…

I don’t have a basement; I have a cellar. That’s similar to a basement except there are concrete floors and it’s wet and has spiders. The first one is the important bit: skip the fridge. Put your beer in the cellar. Sometimes I put it directly on the floor, and other times in a cabinet I have down there. When it comes time to drink a bottle, it’s the perfect temperature.

Again: this is fairly obvious in hindsight, considering beer people talk about “cellar temperature”. But seeing as I was 26 before I realized a quart is a quarter of a gallon…