When it comes to beer storage, two options often come to mind: your fridge and your belly. So why even bother to store beer in a storage unit? There are actually some surprising advantages to storing your beer collection at a dedicated storage facility instead of sacrificing precious shelf space for all of those bottles.
Whether you’re a total hophead or a craft beer novice, here’s how (and why) to store your beer in a storage unit.
Why Self Storage?
Like wine, beer often benefits from the aging process. But before you drop that case of Bud Lite Lime at your storage unit, let’s point out one major thing: this typically only applies to quality, craft beer. Just as you probably wouldn’t care to age a box of Franzia wine, you don’t need to—and shouldn’t—bother to age the kind of beer that can be found at a gas station for under $10.
If you’ve never aged beer before, here’s a few things you should know. Beer with a higher ABV (at least 8%) or beer that is sour or smoked can benefit from spending some time in storage (here are a few specific examples of beer that is worth aging). Varieties that benefit from aging include stouts, barleywines, lambics, old ales and Belgian strong ales.
Beers that have a low ABV (under 8%) or are really hoppy, should not be aged. This includes IPAs and oftentimes lighter beers such as amber ales and lagers.
Not sure whether or not to store a beer long term (read: over 30 days)? Just remember that it will last longer if it has a higher ABV. The higher alcohol content acts as a preservative which slows the aging process.
Store in a Cool, Dark Space
Another reason why self storage and beer are a surprisingly good pairing: all beer should be stored in a cool, dark space. Light and heat result in skunked beer. This is why bottles are usually brown; it prevents light from affecting the liquid inside.
Upright is Best
There are extensive debates about whether it’s better to store beer upright or on its side. The debate appears to be the result of the influx of corked beer bottles, which many connoisseurs believe should be stored laying down like similarly corked wine.
The genuine consensus is that upright is best. There’s no real benefit to storing beer on its side. In fact, doing so can actually result in a yeast ring inside the bottle. Storing beer upright will prevent this and will slow down oxidation.
But wait. Shouldn’t beer be stored at a refrigerated temperature?
Not necessarily. Beers that benefit from aging also benefit from being stored at room temperature (55-60 degrees) while those that don’t benefit from aging need to be stored at cooler temperatures (45-55). Beers with a higher ABV can tolerate higher temperatures.
Either way, be sure to rent a storage unit with climate control.
Beer That Doesn’t Belong in Storage
Unless you are that rare person who deeply believes in the complex flavor profile of Coors and Budweiser, you’re probably not renting a storage unit to fill with inexpensive, domestic macrobrews. But just in case you are, heed the following advice: any beer that is unpasteurized (meaning that there is no active yeast, which is the thing that improves flavor over time) should not be kept in storage. This includes pretty much every major, domestic beer. These macrobrews need to be stored at cooler temperatures (around 40 degrees) and consumed shortly after purchase.
Consider Wine Storage
If you’re a serious beer collector, or if you’re storing long term or if you’re only renting a storage unit for beer, consider renting at a facility that offers wine storage. This specialized type of storage is increasingly popular among beer lovers, and it allows you to have greater control over temperature. Plus, storage unit sizes are smaller and prices may be cheaper.
Cheaper prices and specialized storage for your beer collection? We’ll drink to that! If this sounds like the solution for you, start searching for storage online and find the perfect unit for your beer.