Today I thought I would talk about the immediate enjoyment of beer vs the increased complexity and pitfalls of bottle conditioned beer. Beer, it is a fresh, made to drink beverage that can be enjoyed and drunk in any variety of ways from anything that can hold liquid. The downside of this fresh and enjoyable ancient drink of the gods is that if you don’t enjoy it relatively fresh then you can have on your hands at best a beer that doesn’t increase in complexity at worst a beer which is nothing but a pale shadow of itself.
In the other corner you have a smaller number of beers which have an injection of live yeast and allow for secondary fermentation. Beers such as Youngs London Ale, Bitter and the Coopers Pale and Sparkling are all great examples of bottle conditioned beers. These beers and others like it with higher than usual alcohol contents are beers that you can hold onto for the long haul. They increase with time if properly looked after. This means storing them upright, outside of direct sunlight and in a steady cool temperature. You definitely get some big rewards for your patience if you choose your beer wisely, increased complexity and good food matching can make an aged beer something that you will remember.
The downside of casually buying and drinking bottle conditioned beer without cellaring is not only the missed opportunity for increasingly complex beers but you can also have bits of yeast floating around your glass, especially with a Coopers. This decreases the visual spectacle of your beer and as taste is related to visuals it is best to find a beer which you find visually appealing and I am sorry but the idea of white floaties in my beer doesn’t improve my drinking experience and if you like filtered golden beers then these beers are certainly on the cloudy side and might be less enjoyable for someone less open to new styles.
Either way with the right conditions, patience and beer you can really get a better and more enjoyable beer drinking experience and if you don’t want to spend the bank on beers that you can cellar go with the Coopers Vintage. Still if you don’t want to cellar your beer there are plenty of other excellent options out there too.
Also just to finish off this beer post with a poll to see who would be interested in attending a brewery visit during one of the days during the Adelaide Cup long weekend and which ones you would like to attend. I can arrange a mini bus and it would be great to see a good group out there for some fantastic company, great food and amazing beer.
Till next time