So I had that Lost Abbey Red Poppy last night. That beer was attached (by purchase, price, and style) to the Drei Fonteinen I didn't like last week.
It was amazing.
I'm not sure if it had the same level of tartness as Ensorcelled by The Rare Barrel, but it was in the same class. I'm not sure it had the same lacto 'jam' quality of the Blackcap by Cascade, but it had some of it. I'm not sure it was the best sour I've ever had, but it's in the top three.
Black cherries, thickness, tartness, effervescence -- it was all there. What a great beer.
What it made me think about, though, was how much I remembered of the other three Red Poppy beers I'd had in the past. Was it always so black cherry? Was it thicker, or thinner, or tarter in the past? Was there more wood in it? How would I know? Would tasting notes get me all the way there? Should I start taking copious tasting notes? Would reading 'wood, cherry, slightly tart' from two years ago really tell me anything when I had a new one in my mouth, at this moment?
You can't even solve this with verticals or cellaring -- the beer changes over time. You wouldn't be drinking the same beer even if you stored the same beer away for later to test it against new vintages.
And maybe it's actually sort of a great thing about beer. Maybe I'm thinking about it all wrong. Maybe one of the best things about beer is the context. Maybe it's amazing that you can't ever have the exact same beer you're having right now, again. That does sound great.
But for one moment at least, I wondered if the Red Poppy I was enjoying was better, worse, or the same as the Red Poppy I had before.
(At least I didn't worry one moment about the $16.99 I dropped on the beer.)
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