Friday, June 12, 2020
A New Reality
From the college years, through the military years, especially in the business and community service years, and joyfully in the retirement years, we have enjoyed entertaining. As interesting and engaging people come to our home and into our lives, we try to greet them with a warm welcome. And, to us, that means preparing and serving good food and drink. That’s why the fridge and pantry are always well-stocked with foods for meals, nibbles or hors d’oeuvres. And, of course, a bar with spirits, wine, sodas, and beer.
So, who knew all that pre-planning and ready-for-anything stockpiling would be overcome by a pandemic! As we realized that social distancing was changing the dynamic of entertaining; we also noticed our food consumption was no longer keeping up with food’s tendency to spoil. We started loading up the freezer. Problem solved! Whew!!!
But what about the spirits, wine, soda, and beer. Ah, there’s the rub. It appears some of this stuff expires! It should be consumed in a timely manner. Who knew?!?
Did you know that beer has a “Freshest before” date on every bottle and can? Yeah, we didn’t either. It’s not like the notice is hidden, but it is, none-the-less hard to find. (At least, the cans have the date stamped on the bottom!)
I was prodded to go on the hunt for facts after reading about the “expiration dates” in a newspaper article. This is what I learned:
Beer is either pasteurized of filtered. This eliminates bacteria. It’s always safe to drink.
Beer contains a minute amount of oxygen. This causes the aroma and flavor to oxidize over time.
Oxidation will affect the flavor: either flat, stale or too sweet depending on the alcohol content.
Heat will accelerate the oxidation process. Keep beer refrigerated.
Light will cause skunky beer. Ugh!!! Beer should always be stored in a dark place.
After learning all that, we tried an out-of-date beer. And it tasted just fine!!! We detected no degradation.
So, in conclusion: an expiration date warns consumers of potential health hazards; a best by date informs consumers of potential taste degradation because of aging; and freshest before dates mean exactly that—drink before this date for full fresh flavor.
Beer does not have an expiration date!!!
Good to know.