My name is Josh, and I have a problem.
In the past month, I’ve become addicted to beer trading.
To be fair, I’m not making a serious effort towards recovery. I don’t even think I genuinely have a problem. I can certainly quit any time I want to. I’ll stop as soon as the weather gets cold and I have to worry about the brews freezing in transit.
Seriously, I can stop if I want. Right now, however, I’m having a hell of a lot of fun.
Being in Portland has a lot of benefits, especially for a beer-lover. Along with a couple fantastic beer bars in Novare Res and the Great Lost Bear, Portland is home to seven great breweries. Add to that the fact that beer from Atlantic and Bar Harbor Brewing is readily available, and you have access to beer that people in the other part of the country are dying to get their hands on. Cadillac Mountain Stout and a number of Allagash brews are the stuff of legend on sites like RateBeer.com and BeerAdvocate. Call it the charitable, Maine-loving bastard in me, but I want as many beer lovers in the US to try these concoctions as possible.
Hey, and if I can get some awesome stuff in return, win-win.
As much as I’ve waxed poetic about the “Beer Nirvana” (all credit for the term goes to Luke at the fantastic Blog About Beer, btw), there are so many brews that just aren’t distributed here in Maine. Lots of things from Rogue and Stone, along with breweries like New Belgium, Alesmith, Terrapin, Schmaltz … the list goes on and on. The addiction arose via the Want/Got lists on Beer Advocate, where you can match beers you have with the wants of others around the country, and vice-versa. From there, it just comes down to making contact with your “partner” and setting up a trade. The process doesn’t come without risks, as the legality of shipping with private carriers is sketchy, to put things lightly. However, the community that exists at BeerAdvocate is helpful and accommodating, and anyone that wants should be trading in no time. Unfortunately, trading can be an expensive hobby. On top of the beer you’re paying for, you have to pay shipping fees, which can almost double the cost of your trade. In the end, I think that the costs and risks are worth it. I’ve already gotten a number of my favorite brews from my time on the west coast, some incredibly inventive beers I’ve tried at the Extreme Beer Fests in Boston, and even the “holy grail” of Belgians, a Westvleteren 12.
While not for everyone, trading beer has proven to be a great experience for me, and a windfall in terms of beer. If you stumble across this and want to try some of the libations of Portland, ME, feel free to drop me a line – I’m on Beer Advocate as umfskibum. Oh, and let me know if you can get the 21st Amendment Watermelon Wheat – I’ll totally make it worth your while.