Beer from 1869 that can be guzzled

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  • Published 10.12.06

London, Dec. 10: It was brewed in the year that the Suez Canal opened, Charles Dickens embarked on one of his last literary tours and the Cutty Sark was launched in Scotland.

But the recently-discovered cache of 1869 ale should have been undrinkable, given the conventional brewing wisdom that even the best beers are supposed to last no more than a couple of decades. Beer experts, however, say the 137-year-old brew tastes “absolutely amazing”.

The Victorian beer was part of a cache of 250 vintage bottles found in the vaults of Worthington’s White Shield brewery in Burton-on-Trent.

The bottles will not be sold and have yet to be valued.

According to Steve Wellington, Worthingon White Shield’s head brewer, said: “It was always rumoured that there were some vintage beers on site but no one had bothered to taste them because it was assumed they would not be drinkable.

“Uncovering such an interesting collection is fantastic, the most exciting discovery ever made in British brewing. I assumed they would taste awful. But they had the most astonishing, complex flavours.”

The bottles were sealed with corks and wax and stored in even, cool temperatures, in the dark and placed on their side to stop the corks drying out.