The Great Lost Beer #BrewedAwakening

By / Wine + Drinks / October 12th, 2017 / 7

Sometimes you find yourself in possession of a beer that for some reason you don’t drink. It might be that it’s the wrong occasion, or you want to share it with a fellow beer lover next time they visit. So you stick it in the cellar and forget about it, or it is moved to the back of the fridge.  It gets lost.

Every now and then you catch a glimpse of it while moving other bottles around and you think, “Oh yeah, I’ve gotta drink that.”  But you forget again, and before you know it five years have passed and you are afraid…afraid it’s oxidized or worse.

This week I opened a lost beer, and I’m glad I did. It was a 650 ml bottle of Boxing Rock The Vicar’s Cross from Shelburne, Nova Scotia. This is their Double IPA, 8.5 percent alcohol and well hopped.  I acquired it from an early batch, not too long after they opened back in 2012. Vicar’s Cross is a core brand for Boxing Rock, and has many diehard followers. Those familiar with the beer may remember that the earliest versions were somewhat under-attenuated, so were quite sweet and full bodied. Future batches were drier and better balanced.

A great lost beer, Boxing Rock’s The Vicar’s Cross, aged ~ 5 years

This lost beer tasted great. It was far from stored properly – cellar worthy beer should be aged in a worthy cellar. This was kept in a regular fridge, with associated vibrations and frequent bright light exposure. It poured quite clear (I was careful to hold back the last ounce or two), with a dark amber colour, although there was almost no head.  It tasted malty and hoppy, but not cloyingly sweet nor overly bitter. There was a very English kind of toffeeish note to it,  a nice balance, and  – as with the current version of this ale – it hid its 8.5% alcohol well. There actually wasn’t much sediment, either. It was delicious.

I have a few more (hopefully great) lost beers like this that I will uncork/cap over the next year or so. It will be interesting to see what lies ahead.

Oh, and if you are wondering why I finally opened it, Coronation Street was on and I was out of English style ales. The Vicar winked at me when I opened the fridge, and that was it. 8.5% is a bit much for your first beer on a Sunday, but I guess it was appropriate that it was Vicar’s Cross…


Craig Pinhey discovered good drink circa 1985 at Ginger’s Tavern/Granite Brewery in Halifax and has been writing about beer, wine and spirits for 25 years. A Certified Sommelier and BJCP judge, Craig lives in New Brunswick where he runs his own writing and consulting business and is the beverage columnist for Brunswick News. He is the only person to have judged all of the national wine, spirits and beer awards of Canada.

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