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Stock Clearance #8 - Pretty Things/Once Upon a Time X Ale - 22nd November 1838

"The downfall of being a great beer lover and enthusiast is a tendency to hoard. Nobody I know is as guilty of this as I. As such, I've come to realise in recent months that I really need to start working through my already sizeable bottle stock before purchasing anything else this year, if for no other reason than to try the beers I’ve spent my money on whilst they’re still at their best. Added to this is the realisation over the last few months – based on certain depressive life situations – that life is too short not to drink the great beers I have available to me. I also need to find new encouragement and inspiration to write again. I have never wanted this to be a beer review blog (with the exception of Advent) but all the above factors have led me to begin a series of “Stock Clearance” posts where I drink beers within my hoard that really need drinking for reasons that will be explained."

"I shall further clarify that my beer hoard started to grow around the turn of year between 2011 and 2012. To that point, most of my enjoyment of beer was spent within the confines of the pub or on a Saturday night in when the beer to be drunk in the evening was bought in the morning of the same day. The only beers that entered into “storage” were a bottle of Brewdog’s Abstrakt: 02 (that I think was eventually drunk sometime in 2012) and a Fuller’s Vintage 2008, purchased in 2009 and that is still in my hoard to this day."

There can be no doubt that as a beer enthusiast I should have repeated admiration for Pretty Things Beer & ale project in their attempt to resurrect and rediscover forgotten beers and styles, through their "Once Upon a Time" ale project.. One such venture saw them develop two distinctive types of English milds from the same London brewery, brewed 107 years apart, to compare; the second being the February 22nd 1945 in this mini series.  However, my purchase was based on gratuitous reasons with the other mild being the X Ale - November 22nd 1838. Yes, November 22nd does happen to be the date of my birth and who wouldn't buy a beer with their birthday on.

This is a 7.4% light coloured mild from 1838 taken from an old London brewery's original recipe. It was brewed on February 13th 2012 and I bought it later that year. My intention was to drink it on my birthday last year, but a late planned trip to Belgium occurred instead. With that in mind, I have made sure it has been drunk now as time progresses on this 28 month old beer - or 176 year old if you would like to view it another way.

It is indeed a light, golden colour with distinct haze that, due to the glass I have been forced to use, looks like a Hoegaarden. It smells remarkably different to anything I've drank before. There's a lot of apple on the nose above an English woodland earthiness and wet moss scent. Still, cloudy apple - something like Copella - is the main characteristic here. The taste is a little more reserved and mellow but follows similar guidelines. It's very rustic and muddy, despite it's goldenness. There's a longing sweetness to the taste reminiscent of cold apple pie. The feeling of wet grass and hedgerows doesn't leave the imagery and the malting is hardly announced. There's a medium body to this surprisingly drinkable ale and a lovely sticky aftertaste of apple sauce and mountain dew. X Ale gives nothing away to pre-assumptions and the taste grandfully follows that through. I undoubtedly feel the strength rattling inside my head by the end of this large bottle, but it is unnoticeable when being consumed. This beer might be difficult to get hold of now, but it's a good toast to the day of my birth, long before I was conceived.

Last year I did try to find the other bottle in the mild series but was unsuccessful, therefor I'll never be able to make that comparison. Luckily for me, I'm just happy to have a beer with a little significance to myself. Excellent work. 


Mike Smith said…
Proud owner of some Eldridge Pope "Thomas Hardy Ale" ( 4 bottles ... 1975, 1983, 1985 and 1991) - plus a Fullers Vintage from 2010 ...

Any offers ??!!??

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