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DIY beer festivals: the six pack club

Summer has arrived, sort of, in the sense that people have gone from complaining about the cold to complaining about the heat. With it comes festival season, a veritable nonstop cornucopia of beer tasting opportunities. But why wait for The Man to tell you what to drink? No gods, no masters!

I’m kidding, of course: I’ve written before about how valuable beer festivals can be to try new things. Rather than instead of, I suggest throwing your own fauxstival (I do love a good portmanteau) in addition to attending some this summer.

Today we’ll look at the simplest way to try a bunch of beer: the six pack club.

The idea

Everyone who wants to participate brings in a six pack of beer. You take turns “drafting” bottles until everyone has a mixed six pack.

Preparation

This has a low barrier to entry: go to a store. Buy some beer. Remember to bring it with you. You can choose something you know you like, something you haven’t tried, something that catches your eye.

Execution

Assemble your fellowship. Place the bottles on the table, either all together or in front of the person who brought them.

Then you draft (draught?): take turns choosing one bottle to add to your collection. You can do 1-N, 1-N/N-1 or — as we did — randomized rounds. At the end everyone will have six bottles that you can take home and drink at your leisure.

The spoils of war

]2 The spoils of war

An example

On Friday I brought a six pack of Left Hand’s Milk Stout, which I know I love from both D&D and Risk Legacy. After the draft, I had:

  • Dark Horse Sapient Trip
  • Southern Tier Tangier
  • Stone Pale Ale 2.0
  • Lagunitas Sucks
  • Atwater Vanilla Java Porter
  • Atwater Vanilla Java Porter (I went last the final round and had the Southern Tier Right-O-Way stolen from under me)

Pros

  • No planning overhead: to set one up you just name a date and alert your friends
  • Quick: We went through an eight-person club in about 30 minutes
  • Drink at your own pace: You bring the bottles home, so you don’t have to worry about trying everything, over-imbibing or doing it at work

Cons

  • FOMO: if you have more than six people you won’t get to try everything
  • Limited to cans/bottles only, and some super cool breweries (ahem) only offer growlers
  • You don’t drink any beer there (unless you want to)
  • I suppose if your friends suck you could have bad selections?

In the end

Sure, you could get the same effect by buying a mixed six pack at your beer store of choice, but many beers aren’t offered that way. It also might be cheaper, depending on the beer, to buy an unmixed sixer and disperse.

The key benefit to me, though, comes from the social interaction. I would never have chosen at least half of what I ended up with had I been left to my own devices, but once I saw them I became excited at the thought of trying them. Plus, you know, talking to other people face to face, something that beer bloggers and cubicle dwellers might not do too often.

Besides: it really is as simple as telling your friends/coworkers a date and time, and maybe sending them this post (#seo #beer #festival #brewery #breweries #tcot). What do you have to lose?

2 comments on “DIY beer festivals: the six pack club

  1. Dave on

    Do this at work, except we do 6 guys every week, and rate the beers. Guy who bought the top rated beer picks the style next week, lowest is out for next week, and one of the extra guys steps in.

  2. John on

    We started doing something similar at my work back in November with really good results. Just a few variations we did, when it was your turn to draft, you picked all 6 of your beers at once (certainly helped with time) Also as we did draft order through a randomizer online, the person who picked last, the next week brought their beers wrapped up, creating a mystery beer. This made for something interesting choices, do your roll the dice with the mystery or take what you know and can see.

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