First published on 12 Dec 2012. Updated on 12 Dec 2012.
In craft beer circles VB may not mean the ubiquitous brew from south of the border for much longer - soon it may come to indicate vintage beer. And when it comes to beer, vintage does not mean ancient bottles lying in a dank cellar. This stuff is fresh, tasty, and might just become dealers choice for brewing connoisseurs.
The difference between regular and vintage beer is all in the process. ‘Generally beer is made of ingredients harvested from any which year’ says Andrew Stewart, creator of Endeavour True Vintage Beer, ‘but the grain and hops that go into our beer have to come from the year in which the beer was made’. The result is different tasting beers for each year handcrafted to reflect the growing season.
A winemaker by trade, Stewart’s Endeavour Vintage came out of the idea of treating the process of making beer similarly to that of wine - with a new batch every year, made with ingredients straight from the farm and personally malted. ‘What I’m trying to show is that our beers are not just made in the brewery, they’re made on the farm as well’.
And like wine, vintage beers get better with age. It takes six weeks for the in-bottle carbonating process to complete and from there, if you store them at a low temperature in a dark spot you can expect to keep drinking the Pale ale for 12-18 months after the best after date, and the Amber ale could stretch to two and a half years.