ST. PAUL, MN—Bryan Walters, 30, has a basement full of old beer. With a collection of cans and bottles numbering in the “low-dozens,” the local human resources professional has beer ranging in age from 12 months to five years — all unopened and long since expired.
Stored upright on custom-built heavy-duty shelves that some handyman named Todd mounted to the cement-block wall, sources confirmed Thursday that the beer remains in total darkness and at a cool 53 degrees year-round. “The smart guys on the internet say these are ideal conditions for cellaring — or aging — craft beer,” Bryan with a Y explains, “but I’m not sure they actually drink beer because it all tastes awful.”
Cellaring, a popular activity among the most dedicated aficionados of craft beer, is said to improve a given beer’s flavor profile as time goes by. But Bryan with a Y is skeptical. “The beer changes as it ages, sure. But the breweries put an expiration date on their packaging, and I suspect after that date the beer actually gets worse.”
An occasional homebrewer, Bryan claims he is familiar with various flaws and off-flavors in beer. “Take this sour plum imperial pilsener from Boise,” Walters says. “Two years ago it was bright and funky with notes of dark fruit. And now? Tastes like cardboard.” Bryan shakes his head and grabs another specimen from the shelf. “Same with this bourbon barrel-aged maple pancake stout — high ABV cardboard.”
Frustrated with uneven results, Bryan with a Y thinks he’ll give up the hobby soon. “I never turn the lights on down here. Like, I do my laundry in total darkness. Last week I put soap in the dryer. I have no idea what the hell I’m doing.”
At press time, Bryan with a Y discussed plans to go upstairs and just grab a fresh Summit Keller Pils from the fridge. “I can’t even read the labels down here, so it’s easier to see what I’m grabbing from the fridge. Like, last night my girlfriend wanted a brandy barrel-aged barleywine with her ice cream, but I accidentally grabbed the non-barrel-aged version. She was really mad about that.”
Bryan with a Y’s girlfriend could not be reached for comment, as she was angrily sorting her massive collection of Lularoe leggings, most of which were ruined when Bryan put the damn soap in the dryer. (Pro tip: air-dry the Lulas, BryGuy.)