Lagunitas freshness dating
I’m going to do a bit of all of them, including the not caring – sometimes I want a beer when I’m out for dinner.When it comes to big and hoppy beer, the USA has led the way.
With systems like this in place, brewers can be fairly sure that keg beer will reach the consumer intact.The past few weeks have seen me squinting at bottling codes in badly lit shops and regretting almost every beer I’ve bought in a restaurant.It’s also made me think a lot about the one indication that we usually have to give us an idea of how fresh it is – best before dates.Assuming a year of life, that puts its bottling to be six weeks ago, about as fresh as you can get a beer from the USA.I decided it was time to find some more bottles and see how older beers fared.As soon as a container leaves a brewer’s care, all bets can be off.
Shipping them in warm conditions, storing them next to the hot air outlet of the chiller in the cellar, leaving them in bright sunshine, losing them for six months at the back of a cellar – these are all things that won’t help and will swiftly make the BBE more of a nonsense.
Last week, I received an unexpected gift in the post: a bottle of Lagunitas IPA from the brewery’s marketing department.
Now that they’re half owned by Heineken, Lagunitas have been expanding into the UK and it’s getting fairly easy to find their beer, so I popped the bottle in the fridge in the everyday drinking pile.
As most drinkers won’t mind the taste of a slightly stale beer – or even one that’s totally off in many cases – there’s little incentive to make sales more difficult with shorter BBEs.
So as, we can’t trust BBEs, can we just assume a bottling date of a year before, and only drink things if they’ve been in the bottle for a short amount of time?
However, the explosion of locally brewed hoppy beers has brought one aspect of drinking them to the front of my mind – freshness I’ve been thinking about the freshness of the hoppy beer I’ve been drinking for a couple of years.