I had a bit of a rummage round in the cellar the other day, checking on what beers I had that needed drinking before I let myself loose on a new beer order. This is one from Otley that I picked up back in the 'summer' and I thought I'd better drink it since it went out of date at the end of January. I wasn't that worried about it being off - I've always liked HardKnott's attitude on that front: 'Best before - see neck... but probably even better after.' I have no experience of ageing beers, but some certainly seem far more robust than others!
It pours a deep, dark, almost black, ruby red. The head didn't stay around for long but there were lovely mocha coffee aromas. On the palate it's rich and chocolatey, with dark damson fruit, black cherry and vanilla giving way to a smoky finish. If this beer was better last week, before the 'best before' date, then it must have been truly spectacular!
Not quite so successful was the Penlon Heather & Honey beer, another I got while I was down in Wales last year. I had the bright idea of comparing it to Williams' Fraoch, but never got round to it. I'm not sure if it was because it was just past the best before date (it didn't taste off) or if it's because I struggled with the very floral tastes. There's certainly plenty of honey in the finish and it's probably worth trying if you're a fan of honeyed beers.
Otley 06 Porter. 6.6% abv. £2.94 (50cl) from the Real Beer Box - although I bought it somewhere in Narberth for a penny more! The Penlon Heather & Honey is 4.2% abv, and a 50cl bottle again, but I can't remember what I paid for it.