Following a reply from one of our loyal followers - by the way, don’t follow us, we don’t know where we’re going - I have started up a new section for ‘rare or interesting or otherwise different from VBs ‘ beers.
To kick things off I will share with you the tale of a very rare beer, indeed. The Germans have a saying which goes along the lines of always drinking beer within sight of the brewery. In other words, fresh is best. The fresher the better. I agree. In general, beer, being fairly low in alcohol and chilled and therefore not particularly designed to have strong wine-like characteristics, does not mature with age once it is ready to drink. But, like most other beer ’rules’, there are exceptions.
Some Belgian specialty beers are high enough in alcohol that they will store well and may even mature a little, as will the very well crafted copies from the French Canadian outfit, Unibroue. More on them later. One easily found commercial example is coopers’ Vintage Ale. The last limited release of this bold, complex ale was last year following another two years earlier. To the best of my knowledge, they didn’t let one out in between. The literature will tell you that this drop will develop an even more complex, deep character over six to twelve months. My tasting notes show that the beer was certainly still drinkable after about eight months, but wether or not I could really say it was x amount better, I don’t know. I still have four left, so every year, on this day, I will update you. Remind me if I forget, please.
But back to the really rare beer of which I spoke. Back in 2000 a millennium brew was released by Toohey’s under the name of Hahn Special Vintage 2000. A ruby red, 8%, champagne style bottled which pours (very carefully) with a thick head of foam and a fine bubble. This beer was released in only 13,000 cases - all numbered bottles - and was designed to improve with age. I must admit I have only taste tested on two New Year occasions 2000 and 01 and I still have four left. So, if nothing else, there’s a future taste test to report to our readers.
If you have any rare or interesting beers to share with us, feel free to blog-on and have a say. Remember: the best beer is the one in your hand.