Why it’s time to fill your wine cellar with beer
DRINKING OLD BEER IS A BAD IDEA. We’ve all done it — picked up a not-so-cold one from the back of the unplugged basement fridge hoping it would remedy a no-doubt dire situation. It never did. Aged beer, on the other hand? It’s not just a good idea — it’s an exciting trend in beer halls across the nation right now.
Why? As with wine, the volatile acids in the alcohol break down over time, and the sweet and mellow flavours of the residual sugars become more prominent. The result is beer that’s softer and more complex than before. But you can’t put just any old bottle aside for posterity. It’s true that most beers will spoil with age: your favourite average-strength pale ale would fade, developing a flavour of wet cardboard in a few months. In order to hibernate nicely, a beer should feature some combination of smoke, high acidity, noticeable sweetness or residual yeast, and should contain at least 7% alcohol, which acts as an effective preservative. (Not in IPAS, though. Really hoppy beers don’t keep their signature bitter flavour for long.)