let's have a date.
how many years ago was it that born-on dates were born? it makes sense: you want customers to know how fresh your beer is. but you don't want to put expiration dates on beers. because it's not really clear when a beer expires. and that's a really inefficient, backwards way of emphasizing freshness anyway. so i get it. i get why budweiser (or was it miller?) launched their born-on date campaign so many years ago.
but even then i wondered: how am i supposed to know what the f a born-on date means? that is. without some education. without knowing how long a beer generally lasts. how am i supposed to interpret a born-on date? it seemed like an equally inefficient way to emphasize freshness. because it required so much education. and modern men and women. especially the beer drinking kind. don't take easily to education.
but eventually i learned a little something about beer. in fact, a little too much. ... i learned that a fresh ipa was a game changer. and that freshness started to fade from ipas after a few weeks. and so i became a total snob. and started looking at every packaged beer i bought. to make sure it was packaged within that month. browns, lagers, ipas, saisons, sours. ciders even! (jk. i never did this. but so many beer drinkers do.)
and then i learned even more!!!! i learned that hops are sensitive to time. and that the more time that passes, the less hop aroma and flavor make it into your mouth. and that that detracts from a beer. and then i learned that as time passes, many adjunct spices change aroma and flavor and intensity. and some of the time that enhances a beer. but then i finally learned the truth: that born-on dates are much, much less important when a beer is not heavily hopped or spiced. that is, when the beer is malt or yeast forward. now, nobody wants to drink a six-year-old saison. but a six-month-old saison might be beautiful. where it's ipa sister might be shit.
and so i became more discerning with born-on dates.
i hope you all do too.
this all reminds me of birthdays. for humans. the smaller the number, the more exciting the birthday. for the subject human. and for all her friends and family. but over time, that excitement fades. ... should it always? don't some of us get wiser and more interesting with age? i've met a few ipas in my life. but i've met many more saisons. and i'd sure as shit hate for people to presume i was an ipa. and not a saison. and put me down for the lines around my eyes.
let's have a date.