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Back in the pre-disco mid-1970s there was a nostalgia craze that drove me nuts and eventually helped in my decision to move to England.
People were dressing like 1940s Zoot Suiters while going to see Bette Midler or the Pointer Sisters. Marilyn Monroe was shamelessly exploited as an icon – she seemed to be everywhere in 1973-74 Minneapolis, where I was living at the time. Ditto W.C. Fields and the Marx Brothers.
I kind of got it. It was a weird and heady time. Watergate, Patty Hearst and the war in Vietnam were also going on. Why not escape into the past?
There seemed to be such a refuge in nostalgia that I swore I would never get nostalgic about the good old days. Let the good old day be the one you’re having right now, I decided would be my thing.
So, these many years later, when I see a bottle of Alesmith’s Olde Ale, I can’t stop my brain from waxing nostalgic about the good old days in the White Swan Pub in the village of Bicker, Lincolnshire, where the local lads took great joy in introducing me to all the brews offered in England. Old Ale, an intensely malty strong ale, was one of them.
I know Alesmith of San Diego knows its English beer styles, so was very much looking forward to cracking this 11 percent alcohol bomber. This 2015 bottle comes with the information that the brewery recommends it can be cellared for up to 20 years “to further enhance its amazing depth of flavors.”
Well, I don’t have 20 years so I’m drinking mine now.
Oh boy, there is a lot going on here. Plummy dark fruit. Raisin pie. Dark chocolate/cacao nibs. And then it’s almost like a dollop of bright-flavored jam has been dropped in the very center of the palate, producing both a corresponding smile and a shiver of ecstasy.
Yes, this is another very nice beer from Alesmith. It would be fun to put a couple way for vertical tastings sometime in the future, but, then, the future’s uncertain and the end is always near, so, drink up!