Saturday, March 06, 2010

The Session #37 - The Display Shelf: When to Drink the Good Stuff

The Session #36: Cask-Conditioned Beer

The Session is a monthly event for the beer blogging community begun by Stan Hieronymus at Appellation Beer, and co-moderated with Jay Brooks at the Brookston Beer Bulletin.

On the first Friday of each month, a predetermined blogger hosts The Session,
chooses a specific, beer-related, topic, invites all bloggers to write on it, and posts a roundup of all the responses received.

For more information and to host a Session, go to the archive page at
the Brookston Beer Bulletin

What a difference a month makes! February's topic was fresh beer, served cask-conditioned. This month, the Session begins its third year with a discussion of beer collections: cellaring beer for drinking later. Here's how host BeerFerm announced the theme for The Session #37 - The Display Shelf: When to Drink the Good Stuff:
My journey to a full-fledged beer enthusiast has gone from having a preference for full flavored beers -- to homebrewer -- to craft beer drinker -- to beer traveler -- to beer collector -- to beer blogger. Over the past few years, I have purchased or been gifted numerous bottles of beers that I subsequently cellared and designated as “to be opened on a special occasion.” My dilemma, however, is matching an occasion with opening a particular bottle in my collection.

In the 1990s, Sierra Nevada's Bigfoot Barleywine was considered somewhat undrinkable when young,  at 9.6% alcohol by volume, and with lots of aroma, flavor, and bitterness from  'C' hops: Cascades, Centennial, etc., all brash and grapefruity when fresh. By today's standards of extreme beers —a meaningless label of fungible definition— Bigfoot could be considered tame.

I popped open a bottle of 1999 vintage: a vinous maltiness with the citrusy hops now in the background. I drank it —well, I sipped it— with a simple dinner of sautéed mushrooms and onions. Wonderful together.

cellared beers

I drank my lone surviving 1991 Eldridge Pope Thomas Hardy Ale while snowed in during the Washington D.C. area's recent historic blizzards. The beer was somewhat thin and hot: it had passed its prime.

My 'cellar' contains  about 130 vintage beers, including another Thomas Hardy from 1994, and two more Bigfoots from 1999. (I relish the opportunity to use that plural construction.) My collection is minuscule by some standards, but it's too large an assortment for my current tastes.

I need to have a party.

'Sir Ron' of BeerFerm has posted his round-up of all the contributions: here.


  1. The 99 Bigfoot looks awesome. What your opinion on the optimal time to drink aged SN Bigfoot?

  2. Those aged Bigfoot's are indeed delicious!

  3. That photo is awesome. Thanks for participating in the Session #37.

  4. Hozbrew: I don't know. Check back in a few years.
    Chuck V: It was.
    SirRon: Thank YOU, sir.


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