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PSA: Obey the IPA

Posted by Rob Hern on

September is rolling by quickly, as usual. It always bums me out when the days get shorter and it's dark before 8pm. You know what else bums me out? When people don't look after their beer properly.

I am not going to point fingers at anyone in particular, just know that I am watching you (and, let's be real, that I am an opinionated jerk). If you buy a can of True Believer, leave it in your closet for 6 weeks and then drink it … WAIT! Hit the brakes .. why in God’s name would you do that? If you have a can of beer from SFBC, please note that it says Keep Cold. Drink Fresh right on the label. I didn’t put that on there because it's a catchy slogan. If you don’t follow those simple rules, you risk wrecking the beer that you are consuming. True Believer has a 3 week drink-by date on the label. Yes, it will last longer if it is kept cold in the fridge, but why are you buying hoppy beer to drink 2 months later? It tastes best within 3 weeks of canning. I promise. Think of our beer the same way you would milk. Would you leave your milk on the counter for 3 weeks, drink it, and then complain to the store that it had gone bad? 

Here’s the thing: SFBC is a small-scale brewery. We do not pasteurize or filter our beer. On top of that, it’s important to know that we are, in our hearts, a mixed-fermentation brewery that likes to drink Pale Ales at lunch. I am not going to dive too deep into the back end of why mixed fermentation makes Keep Cold. Drink Fresh even more important, but here’s the main thing: what it really means is that if the beer is not consumed along the correct timeline (fresh) and properly stored (cold), the can could potentially explode. We follow a very thorough cleaning regimen, but we are also very small and it is financially impossible for us to 100% guarantee that our mixed ferm bacteria are not able to sneak into Pale Ales. Sounds weird, maybe, but microscopic organisms hide well even with our deep clean. We don’t yet have a full lab, so we aren’t able to check beer for crossover before packaging. To play it safe, we err on the side of always acknowledging the risk. There are a lot of things I want to buy for the brewery to help us successfully remain a mixed fermentation brewery that makes Pale Ales. Over the next few months, as I can afford it, we will be bringing in separate brewery hoses and gaskets for our Pale Ales. This will help us keep our clean beer clean and our mixed funk… mixed and funky. All of these things take time and money and, if you’ve been following along with us on this journey, you know that it’s a slow burn at SFBC. We build and move forward as we can. 

This does not change the fact that many people have little to no understanding of how to properly look after beer. I do blame the LCBO for this… it offers maybe the least attractive and most soul crushing experience for purchasing beer or really anything (but that is a different rant). What I mean to say is they have given the general public the impression that storing beer on a hot shelf for long periods of time is acceptable. If you are a large brewery pasteurizing your beer for shelf stability … sure, it’s stable… but why do you think that 3 month old Boneshaker, Octopus or Surround Sound doesn’t taste as fresh and hoppy as it should? Sometimes, it might just kind of taste like slightly bitter cardboard with a caramel backbone. If you enjoy hoppy brews from anyone, big guys or little, the same rules need to be obeyed: Keep Cold. Drink Fresh.

Life is short. Obey the IPA.
- Rob



Cans: Keep cold & drink fresh
Bottles: Cellar to your heart's desire (especially Lando, which has a 29 year 364 day Best Before date)


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