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Fresh Schmesh!!

I think most of us have seen those tv ads for commercial beer, touting it’s “freshness”. I was always a little skeptical of the advantage of freshness, as beer is a fermented beverage, and, like wine, should probably smooth out and generally improve with some ageing. Since I started making my own beer, however, I have chosen to throw the fresh idea out the window. Here’s why.

Last summer, my friend and I made a straight-up Dutch Lager using a Baron’s kit with the yeast and hops that were included in the box. We drank most of it soon after it became nicely carbonated, which took about a month of it sitting in an upstairs bedroom (about 20°C) It quickly became a favourite.  We detected a very slight “home made beer taste”, which was acceptable because it was by a long shot better than any other home made beers we’d ever tried.  Even so, it was a challenge not to drink it all once we got going that day, but, displaying steely self-discipline we were able to squirrel some away to sample later.

Before we knew it, the cooler evenings came along, bringing us around to drinking a lot more red wine, as well as tucking into the chocolate raspberry port from the previous year. Okay, I admit it. We forgot about the beer. Until last week, when I flipped the top off a one litre “E-Z Cap” bottle of our now nine-month-old Dutch Lager.
Wow.  The delightful hoppiness and crisp aromas literally jumped out of my glass, while I admired the golden colour and creamy head that stayed around until I started drinking it.  Smooth as silk, it was.  But what impressed me most is that the “home made beer taste” was TOTALLY ABSENT, leaving behind nothing but a whole lot of character and flavour.   By the time the bottle was empty, I felt like putting on some wooden shoes and kicking myself in the butt for not saving a whole lot more, “for later”.  Lesson learned:  “Fresh, schmesh”.       Terry Bell

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