Bad News Beers

Reader Deborah Duggan has "observed, with dismay, that the bottled beer of supposedly high quality (Mirror Pond Ale, Bridgeport, Samuel Adams, Anchor Steam, etc.) is completely off in taste in this region we live in, if one buys it in a store." Dr. Food has noticed this, but assumed it was due to mistreatment during shipping; no beer will taste like much if it's spent a few days in the sun on a loading dock. But Craig Stephens of Wallingford's fine-beer boutique, Bottleworks, says the problem arises right in the store. "Retail stores will pull their stock of a particular beer out of the cooler and stack it unrefrigerated on the floor during a promotion and then stick what's left over back in the cooler. Ups and downs of temperature are as bad for beer as storing it too warm in the first place. And that fluorescent light in the coolers is a killer." What can you do about it, short of buying your beer only from specialty shops like Bottleworks? Take the offending six-pack back where you bought it, ask for the beverage manager, suggest s/he sample the offending brew, and demand your money back. Sure it's a lot of trouble; but stores aren't going to change their slipshod ways until customers start demanding that they do. Got a question or comment for the doctor? Drop us a line via If your query leads to a published result, you'll receive a free copy of Cynthia Nims' and Kathy Casey's Best Places Seattle Cookbook.

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