A guide to craft beer bottle share etiquette

7venth Sun Brewing in Tampa approached the Tallahassee Beer Society during last week's Proof Tap Invitational in Tallahassee about donating several rare bottles to share the next TLHBS fundraiser bottle share.

Where do community and charity converge on the Tallahassee craft beer scene? At craft beer bottle shares.

Allow us to explain.

Tallahassee holds many events where community, charity and craft beer meet. There are monthly efforts, like GrassLands Brewing Company’s “Community Pint” or Deep Brewing Company’s “Monthly Missions.”

Some breweries donate proceeds from special events, like Proof’s Florida Tap Invitational, Ology’s ALS fundraiser, and Lake Tribe’s recent “Alzheimer’s Project: Pints for Caregivers.”

It’s abundantly clear that the Tallahassee craft beer community takes the word “community” seriously!

Here at the TLH Beer Society, we have tried to follow our breweries' lead through bottle shares. While we don’t brew beer, and we don’t sell anything (yet — stay tuned!), we do bring people and organizations together using Florida’s craft beer boom as a conduit.

With the aid of breweries, local restaurants and scores of craft beer enthusiasts, we have been able to raise funds for the Down Syndrome Association of Tallahassee, victims of the Eastpoint fires, a TCC memorial scholarship fund and other community issues. 

Bottle shares are “the more the merrier” types of events and our neighbors need us. 

What is a bottle share?

A bottle share is a gathering where each person brings beer to open and share with other attendees. They can be large or small, but the idea is always the same: Share good beer with good people.

Must I bring a “rare” find to attend?

Not at all! The idea is to bring a quality beer. Sure, there will be beer enthusiasts who bring “whales” — rare, limited, aged or special release beers — but if you’re new to craft beer, or bottle shares, we always suggest a visit our friends at Quick N Save (416 E. Tennessee St.) for suggestions. 

How many bottles should I bring?

Every attendee brings at least one bottle of good beer to share with others. Sometimes people bring two or more, depending on the event and number of people attending. Just bring whatever you’re comfortable sharing.

How much beer can I expect to try?

Expect to sample small amounts of a wide variety of beer. You’re not drinking a pint here; most pours at bottle shares will hover around 2-3 ounces.

If you’re new to craft beer, or bottle shares, keep in mind that these small pours add up! Many of the beers at a bottle share have a higher ABV (Alcohol By Volume), so be sure to pace yourself, partake in some munchies, and by all means hydrate.

Bottle share tips

Admittedly, we're still learning when it comes to these bottle share events. But in general, the rules are simple:

  • If you brought it, feel free to open it at any time.
  • If you didn't bring it, don't open it; try to wait for the owner to do so.
  • If it's sitting out in the open, it's usually fair game to sample, but be respectful of your pour size (especially if it's a smaller bottle or you already had some).
  • Bring a few bottles of water. It’s not just for hydration purposes. As you sample different styles you’re going to want to swish your cup out — mixing that fruited sour with an imperial stout is a bad move.
  • Drink the water you swished with. It’s tasty and will keep you hydrated.
  • Share — not just in the beer, conversation, and vibe —but share those pics on social media! Not only will you make your friends jealous, you're going to want to document the beers you loved so you can try to purchase them later on.
  • Always have arrangements for a ride (Uber, Lyft, Yellow Cab or a designated driver), just in case you need it.

Bottle shares are a fun way to share good beer with good people, and help raise money and awareness for great causes.

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