Food - Drink
What To Consider Before Buying Beer At The Grocery Store
By KAREN GRECO
Many grocery stores, in states where they’re allowed to, stock local craft brews on their shelves to signal their commitment to the community. Still, there are a few things to consider before grabbing that IPA off a supermarket shelf because what you get in convenience, you may pay for in freshness.
Beer is perishable, and while old beer won't make you sick, the taste can be unpleasant. The best grocery store beer to buy is one you'd drink in any season — think Budweiser, Coors, Miller — given that larger distributors move more product, there is always a new batch of beer in rotation.
For those who prefer craft brew, Zach Mack, owner of ABC Beer Co. and a Certified Cicerone — a sommelier for beer — acknowledges that exposure to heat, air, and light could compromise its quality and freshness. Mack suggests checking the bottled-on date, usually stamped on the bottom of cans or the neck of bottles.
Once you know the bottled-on date, you can keep beer in the fridge for up to six months, while unrefrigerated beer lasts only three. Canned beer provides the best protection against light and oxygen due to its design, whereas bottled beer should be kept away from the light, otherwise you’ll get a skunky taste from the exposed hops.
For IPAs, some craft brewers believe the flavor of hops degrades as the beer ages, so it’s best to consume these beers within 30 days of the bottled-on date. When choosing hoppy beer, stick to the fridge section as heat turns hops bitter, while darker, higher ABV beers, like an Imperial Stout, have better shelf-staying power.