Summer Guide: Beer

Remember how you felt as a kid when you walked into your living room on Christmas morning? You squealed with joy as you tore into mysterious boxes, excited to discover what was waiting inside.

That's how I feel all the time. There's nothing like finding a box of unmarked cardboard on your doorstep and slowly fishing out the treats inside, each bottle better than the last.

Jamie Peachey

Details

How to trade beer

• Visit www.beeradvocate.com or www.ratebeer.com. These sites have the most active communities of generous beer nerds, and they're usually pretty accommodating to newbies.

• Be prepared to ship first. Believe it or not, there are people out there who'll receive a box of beer and never send anything back. New traders are expected to send out their box before the more established trader sends to minimize the risk of ripoffs.
• Pack your box tightly. Postal workers are notoriously insensible and will treat your box of fragile, breakable beer just as roughly as they would a box of pillows. Invest in oodles of bubble wrap, seal your caps with electrical tape, and line the box with a trash bag in case a bottle happens to leak.

• Share! There are hundreds of other beer people around locally who would jump at the chance to try some new stuff. Set up a tasting and pop a few bottles with friends. Beer's a social drink, after all.

The people behind the beer are even more epic than the brews they send. The beer community is filled with some of the most incredibly passionate and generous people you'll ever meet. Through trading, I've made great friends all over the country I could visit anytime — and when I do, I know the beer fridge will always be full.

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4 comments
Guest
Guest

Russian River Brewery is actually in Santa Rosa (Sonoma County) and it is sold in AZ. I've bought it a few times since moving to Northern AZ from Santa Rosa.

Rob Zebeck
Rob Zebeck

Zach,

When a bottle of Surly's Darkness arrived recently and reminded me it was time to put the FW Parabola in the mail to Minnesota I suddenly lamented living in Arizona for the thousandth time. Indeed, though we have had a remarkably mild mannered, record making spring whose weather was surely cherished it is now really damn hot outside. I'm starting to worry for my lovely libations as their perilous journey seems even more fraught with danger due to inesacable reach of the diable du soleil.

I know that those who trade/sell live animals (reptiles mostly) and ship them (literally by the millions every year) employ cool packs at certain times of year but they do cease their commerce in summers in the Southwest. Of course the stakes are much higher there. But i wonder if you have found cause to make use of these or similar products.

Do you stop shipping and receiving the PHX summers?

What about cans? As i know you know, some of the best brews in America now come packaged more safely and environmentally consciously in aluminium. These are of course closed containers under pressure potenatially exposed to heat. With the limited structural integrity of a beer can ,well anybody who has ever left a soda or beer can in a car on a hot day can testify to the mess.

Thoughts?

Ricky
Ricky

if you bought Russian River here, it was there illegally. They do not distribute to AZ. Lost Abbey does though.

I love trading, but have slowed that down as of late.

Zach Fowle
Zach Fowle

Rob,

The summer heat is definitely an issue. I've had boxes that were left sitting on my doorstep while I'm at work whose bottled contents nearly singed my hands when I pulled them out. I've never found much need for ice packs or any other extra measures, though. You have to remember the beer likely went through similar temperature changes on its way to store shelves in the first place -- a little fluctuation isn't going to ruin it.

However, I usually slow down during the summer and make sure to mail out any packages as early in the week as possible to avoid the boxes sitting in a hot warehouse over the weekend.

 
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