The Beer Trials is nearly finished; it will be off to the printers early this coming week. I expect to be posting much more regularly here in the coming weeks, and I may have an opportunity to do some guest blogging at a major bookseller’s website when the book is out. The last few weeks were a crazy flurry of work, and it’s nice to slow down a bit.
Our final panel tasting occurred on Wednesday night; we had a few problematic beers which required retasting, and some last-minute additions and late arrivals. The tasting went well, and to celebrate the completion of that portion of the book I brought out a bottle of Oud Beersel Old Kriek, which was excellent.
One of the points I have tried to push on in the book is the importance for some beers of freshness-dating. Particularly for beers that have low sell-through, aren’t bottle conditioned, and don’t have high alcohol (or other characteristics that will act as preservatives, like the acidity in sour beers), it’s far too easy to get old bottles that are well past their prime. Samuel Smith was a particular challenge for us here. It’s a problem that will vary significantly from city to city, as the imports and craft beers in high demand in Portland aren’t always the ones in demand in Cleveland or Philadelphia.
I was tickled to see that there is a best-by date on the Old Beersel. Lambics—traditionally-styled ones, at least—are built to age, so I wasn’t too worried about it. But there it is—see for yourself.