New Packaging for Upscale Beer

I had a dream last night: a local microbrewery prepared a Maibock, and labeled the bottles “Not to be Opened until 1 May 2006.”

They sold the beer months in advance, however, so that people could have the beer sitting around, waiting for it to mature, like wine, and build that anticipation.

Furthermore, the 750ml glass beer bottles were enclosed in a larger glass cylinder, which was full of water. The stated reason was to provide better “climate control” for the beer, by dampening temperature changes.

While in the waking world I can’t imagine that the small volume of additional water would have a substantial effect, it would be a neat marketing gimmick.

Beer Exchange

Once in a while, I get a craving for a beer I just can’t find in my area. For example, the Mort Subite cassis lambic is something I haven’t had in forever.

I can order it online, direct from Belgium, at terribly inflated rates. I hope that one day I’ll run across it locally, but in many states, alcohol distribution is legally restricted to a tiny handful of politically-connected players.

Many states won’t allow formal liquor sales via mail, but few if any are likely to interfere with a single person shipping a gift to another person.

So I can’t get my beer; presumably, somebody somewhere else can get it, but can’t get something else that they’d like, which I might be able to get. There should be a web site that hooks us up, so that we can exchange beery gifts. A simple ebay-like reputation system would be useful to demonstrate that one is not unilaterally giving beer to people who won’t reciprocate, but the overall system could be incredibly simple.

Home Scotch Blending

The surge of interest in single-malt scotch is easy to understand: they are quirkier and more intense than traditional blended scotch, and the range of style is far more broad than most blendeds. Single-barrel cask-strength scotches are even more intense and interesting than other single-malts, but there is far less consistency.

That said, there’s something to be said for the blended: they are far less one-note than many single-malts (my friend Stu is wont to complain about the single-flavor problem with single-malts), and uniformity is far more achievable than single-cask scotches.

Why don’t people blend scotches at home? A couple of particularly delicious single-malts (Lagavulin 16-year, Highland Park 18-year, Balvenie Portwood 21-year, Talisker 10, Bowmore Darkest, Springbank 10, and Glenlivet 12, for example) can be mixed together to achieve interesting and sometimes quite tasty results. (I’ve conducted a little bit of experimentation to verify this.)

One could mix by the glass, in a graduated cylinder of some sort so as to be able to record proportions for note-taking and accurate reproduction. This might also be a market for drink-mixing robots, so as to guarantee the consistency of the house blend. (Like homebrewers, perhaps some home-blenders will print up their own labels and give them to friends to commemorate special occasions.)

It would be an expensive hobby, sure, but hardly on par with owning a yacht.