So it isn't quite like trading baseball cards was when I was a kid, but it's pretty damn close. In case you weren't aware, beer has gone viral. There are people who do nothing but post pictures of the rare and local beers they drink on Instagram (Instagram is a picture sharing app for those of you who live in a cave). I have friends on Untappd from all across the US. It's not crazy to see people posting pictures of five or ten of your favorite rare hard to find beers. I saw a dude with more than a half dozen Three Floyd's Darklords and one of their barrel aged versions after Darklord Day. This guy was just asking to make a trade.
When you are looking to make a trade, make sure that you find someone who has something you want. Likewise you have to make sure that you have something that someone else might want. Approach your fellow beer geek on the net and ask if he/she is interested. At this point if they want to party you exchange emails and move that way to keep things private. No one else needs to know your business. During the emails be polite, be friendly and make sure they know you are as excited about the trade as they are. This should be a win win for both of you.
Once you figure out what big impressive super awesome beers you are sending to your fellow beergeek and what they are sending back to you, do what you can not to let it end there. There are so many beers that are probably no big deal to a guy in Colorado, but here in Indiana they are impossibly hard to get. It could be as easy as pie for the person you are trading with to hit up their favorite brewery and grab a few seasonals or even just the everyday stuff. Drive down to your local liquor store and grab them some Sun King, Three Floyds, Flat 12, People's, Fountain Square, or any of the other amazing brews that are limited to Indy.
This is an easy way to make the trade more existing for you and them. It is cool to get a beer that you've been dying for, but to get that and five more beers that you haven't heard of is just outstanding. I like to throw in a few coasters and stickers, since I pick them up at festivals and breweries. Not a huge deal when you see them everyday, but it's an easy way to give someone a little bit more than they bargained for.
Once you have all your beer, make sure you communicate when it is being shipped and how it is shipping. I tried to keep the ship dates close so no one was waiting too long for their beer. Also make sure you package the box well. No one wants to get a wet box full of broken glass. Send the tracking information to your new beer pen pal and ask for them to do the same.
A huge THANK YOU to DenverBeerGuy from Instagram. He was the first person that I didn't know in real life that I traded beer with. It was a great trade and he hooked me up with some outstanding stuff that I could never have gotten here in Indy. You can see the trades in the pictures above. I sent out the Founders and IN stuff and he sent me all the Avery stuff and other Denver brews.