I cleaned out the stash tonight, replaced the cardboard boxes that had gotten a bit damp and musty, set new slates down to keep the air moving. I do it once in a while to keep things from going off in there. It was looking a bit rough. I wonder if these guys would care:
"I hope this tastes as good as it smells," Stanley said with a grin. For roughly two years, the 39-year-old Port St. Lucie resident has been collecting vintage beers. Drinking aged bottles of wine is somewhat common. But collecting and drinking 20-, 30- and even 100-year-old beers is rare. On June 22, Stanley gathered three "beer geek" friends to taste 15 beers — all at least 25 years old. That pint dark green bottle was the reason for the celebration. Just above the beer's name, "Coronation Ale," the bottle's label reads: June 22, 1911. H&G Simonds brewed the ale to celebrate King George V's coronation as king of England exactly 100 years earlier.
I like to keep my average beer buying costs to around five bucks per 12 oz. so the idea of paying $30 to $200 a bottle is not all that attractive to me. Yet I can see the draw - digesting the past, consuming ancient agriculture, getting that supremely exclusive taste. But do the seven "X"'s on the 1911 Coronation Ale still have any real meaning? Isn't this a bit like a fan club for wilted lettuce? A year and a half ago, Zak popped a bottle of George "Vee plus 1"'s 1936 Coronation Ale and seemed to quite like the experience... or was he being a little all English and polite when he wrote "it was good, but challenging." I like his idea of blending a little of the old with the new, however. I was talking with a brewer the other day and mentioned the idea of a sherry solera of strong ale, the barrels at the top feeding down as everything evaporates or is bottled off, the casks at the bottom become a blend of ancient ales kept alive with a meager diet of their juniors.