I'd like to start this out by stating that I'm not trying to pull the wool over anybody's eyes and trying to convince you that we can sell out-of-date beer. We shouldn't. By selling beer, we've essentially promised the brewer (and the customer) that we'd take good care of their baby and send it out into the world in the flourish of beauty that they had intended.
Now that we've got that bit out of the way, I'd like to have a chat about Best Before Dates on bottles.
In some circumstances, they're warranted; they're a good indicator of how to best enjoy a beer and for its intended use (besides drinking it, of course). A short date indicates that it should be drunk fresh in order to appreciate that particular beer's qualities; a long one means that it could be aged to see what the future holds. And truth be told, I personally wouldn't trust a 4.2% pale ale with a year left on its life.
You see, hops--those glorious little nuggets that impart balance, bitterness, flavours, and aromas--only live up to their full potential for so long. The oils and compounds that are responsible for the job break down incrementally and before too terribly long, their deliciousness disappears and you're left with the bitter and preservative properties, and an ultimately disappointing beer. In essence, hops are like a glamour model--you wouldn't kick 'em out of bed, but an older one without the layers really destroys the fantasy. This is why lighter, hoppier beers tend to have a shorter lifespan than the inverse.
Even so, with all the said, the Best Before Dates printed on the bottles are quite arbitrary. Generally a brewer will look at the date that he brewed the beer, flip the calendar the requisite number of times in accordance with the style, and print it on the bottle. There are some agreed-upon guidelines--and it's all with the beer's best interest in mind--but a beer that's one day, one week, or even one month out-of-date would require an omniscient beer-God to taste the difference.
Thus, it's fair to say that a Best Before Date is merely a guideline, and a somewhat arbitrary one at that. Quite often they're used as gimmicks and sadly don't tell the customer that much. For example, what does an expiry date of 10 years from now, as is the case with certain stronger and darker beers, mean? If you've had a beer sitting for 10 years, what is 10 years and three months going to do. 11 years?
Obviously that is an example of an extreme. Nevertheless, I'd even go so far as to say that arbitrary dates unnecessarily upset a customer. A better option would be to assume the practice of printing "Born On" dates (and perhaps indicate a generally agreed-upon range for that particular beer) and let the customer take control because, truthfully, once out of the hands of the brewer and then the shop, the responsibility of care and proper storage lies with them.
Father’s Day, 19th June 2022, is the special date in the calendar when we celebrate and give a nod to the Dads in our lives. It’s an excuse to spoil them with a little something to say thank you for being awesome. If you’re looking for inspiration for a craft beer-loving Dad, then check out our top 7 Father’s Day beer gifts.
Every year, Beer Hawk releases a lineup of limited edition craft beer mixed cases for the holiday season. This year's lineup of festive Christmas beer gifts is guaranteed to put a smile on everyone’s face.
Remember the childhood excitement of opening a new door on your advent calendar every day in the run up to Christmas? It gave each day a little sparkle of festive magic, even though those tiny chocolates behind the doors were always a bit rubbish. How would you like to recapture that childhood magic, but with bottles of delicious beer instead of powdery chocolate? Sounds amazing, right? In that case, you need to get your hands on our Craft Beer Advent Calendar.
Pairing beer and food together isn’t all rules and science. That would make for a terribly boring dinner party! Instead, it’s the art of taking a good beer, some good food and partnering them together to make something even better. It’s the adventure of discovering what works, what doesn’t and what you like. It’s you taking a bite, taking a sip and then declaring your undying love for that imperial stout and chocolate cake.
Barrel-ageing beers is not a new thing, but it is getting more and more popular, and has probably never been as inventive. Adrian Tierney-Jones explores the new wave of ageing beer in wood
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