Beer storage and aging
Any place with a wide variety is going to end up with old beer unless they charge enough to be able to toss the old ones. Some of what they sell just sucks - but you can't expect much from a $.59/beer. LOL
Cool storage will help some, but only so much - most beer doesn't "age", it just gets stale, and worse if exposed to constant light. I've had good luck grabbing from all the way in the back of the rows where it's dark and avoiding bottles that have obviously been dusted several times.;) Fairway's gotten better over the years, but Pioneer's selection is still better and their prices are usually lower too..
Also, they do have some cold beer, but nothing very exciting and only a small percentage of what they sell. T
By old, I meant years old. I ran across some porters from Deschutes (Bend, OR) in late 2003. When I asked the brewery where they came from (and why they aren't shipping more), they responded that they must have been from a tasting that had been cancelled due to 9/11. That's old.
If stored in dark, cool room, beer can age quite nicely. I've had some Brooklyn Monster Ales from 2000-02 that occasionally appear on the shelves, and some have tasted great, others not so good. I have my doubts about whether or not Pioneer has a beer cave though...
Depends on the style--higher alcohol and on lees beers are meant to age and have a better chance of being drinkable off a shelf. I doubt any lager will be drinkable after more than a year under any condition. Also you're better off with corks than metal caps with old beers. Red Stripe is a decent beer but only when it is SUPER fresh, as in less than a month old.
Lack of freshness is my #1 pet peeve when it comes to craft and imported beer. I've been burned so many times, that I have almost completely given up on buying bottled beer. I will only buy a few seasonal beers here or there like Sierra Nevada Celebration and Bigfoot, Smuttynose Pumpkin, etc. that I know is fresh. All my other beer needs are satisfied by draft beer at reliable beer bars and brewpubs, and my homebrew. I like hoppy beers for the most part and I think I may be really sensitive to stale/oxidized hop flavors. I can tell if an ipa has been on a warm shelf for even just a month. I think freshness is a huge issue that craft brewers need to overcome if they ever want to crack 10% of the beer market.
Here is an interesting experiment Lew Bryson did to try to prove what conditions it takes to make beer go bad:
Wow, that IS a great article that appeals to me on so many levels.
First there that business about buying bottles of the same beer at the same time straight from the brewery and then storing them in different ways. Love the direct sunlight thing.
Actually I kind of want to try this myself just to see the different ways the same beer will taste.
Then I love the science behind why all of this happens ... and it doesn't overwhelm you with too much ... sort of like the Harold McGee of beer.
Cool to know chemical, so to speak, changes are happening when beer is subjected to sunlight.
Interesting about the colored bottles too. I wonder if any beer is in ruby red glass. It can't be more expensive than those bottles that are ceramic. Also, why don't they just cover bottles with plastic like Arizona Iced tea ... or whatever that beverage is that has the plastic slipcover. It seems like that would be cost-effective. Good to read that high-tech is to the rescue with a new clear glass that filters out the light. I wonder if that juice box packaging used for wine is being used for beer or if that is possible.
Interesting that Miller alters the hops to allow it to bottle in regular old clear glass.
Amazing that a lighly hopped bear can go bad in 5 to 10 seconds exposed to direct sunlight.
That stuff about freezing & ice beers was, uh, cool too. I'd love to go to one of those Seibel conferences with deliberately mishandled beer. Well, as they say in the informercials, there's much much more. I save this article to disc it is so good.
I'm giving learning about beer one more try, using a different strategy so this was very helpful. Thanks again.