I’ll Drink Your Beer if You Drink Mine

This bottle swap, launched last Wednesday in Humboldt & Jackson’s backroom, aims to link up true beer appreciators (and build community in the process).

Humboldt and Jackson

At Humboldt & Jackson’s newly launched bottle exchange event, you have the opportunity to tip out some precious brew to a squad of strangers. Photo courtesy of Humboldt & Jackson.

Hey beer pros, let’s do a little role play. Let’s say you’ve managed to score yourself a coveted bottle of Heady Topper. Is your first instinct to hoard? Hide it in the basement and wait for an occasion so special, it may never arrive? Maybe drink it alone in your dim kitchen, eyes darting about for beer marauders?

Please, allow us to make a gentle suggestion.

At Humboldt & Jackson’s newly launched bottle exchange event, you have the opportunity to tip out some precious brew to a squad of strangers. “Why on Earth would I do that?” you may ask. Well, because you earn something in return.

This event, launched last Wednesday in H&J’s backroom, aims to link up true beer appreciators (and build community in the process). The deal is, you bring something tasty from your personal collection. In return, you get access to all the beers from your soon-to-be amigos.

It may be far-fetched to imagine Heady Topper on offer, but what if you could score some King Sue or some Hopslam? The potential is intriguing.

At last week’s inaugural swap, there was an eclectic range of beers in the mix. There were sour beers and porters and an oopsie Christmas ale from my friend Brooke (she grabbed the wrong bottle from her homebrew collection). One attendee even brought the stash he’d received in the mail from a mysterious Hawaiian friend.

No one was stingy with their bottles — that’s not the spirit of the event. Pour it out and pass it around; we’re all friends here. And as the beer flowed, so did the stories. People shared tales of trying their first mead, their homebrew failures and their opinions on beer cocktails. Strangers stopped being strangers.

The event has a $10 cover, but that’s just to pay for the meat, cheese and pickles from Humboldt & Jackson. This wasn’t some Key Foods deli plate; I ate more than my share of these well-curated nibbles.

Each swap takes place the final Wednesday of the month, starting at 8:00 p.m. Every month will have its own theme; the July 29 event will focus on domestic brews.

And if you’re interested in checking out the venue sooner, H&J is celebrating their first anniversary this Friday. Surprises abound, but we’ll give a couple of teasers: dollar drafts and a pig roast. Who’s in?

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Jesse Hirsch

Formerly the print editor of Edible Brooklyn and Edible Manhattan, Jesse Hirsch now works as the New York editor for GOOD magazine.