Here at Professor Goodales we treasure the work our columnists do, so we are starting a new feature. Once in a while, we will walk through the vast digital warehouse, not unlike where they stored the Ark in Indiana Jones, and republish an occasional archived article. This is our second archived edition…
Without intent, I have collected well over 1,000 beer bottles since the early 70s. When something finally had to be done about the cheap paneling in this old modular, I had a choice. Tear down the walls while, oh, so carefully, replacing the often rotted 1X3s. Or: cover them with…
…The Bottle Collection.
Written by Ken Carman
This is going to be an interesting edition: I thought I’d combine a profile with the Bottle Collection, since the first time I had Theakston Old Peculier was quite a while ago.
The last time I had this was at a wedding in Utica, NY in the 80s and I almost threw fruit at the bartender. He kept insisting Old Peculiar was only “properly served” with fruit extract in it and an orange slice on the rim. He told me because dark beers were too bitter and “everyone drank it that way.” Of course by then I had had Guinness Foreign Extra in Montreal and I told him it wasn’t all that “dark,” or “bitter,” and I wouldn’t let him ruin such a grand experience.
Maybe it was my threat I didn’t make to give him a very “personal” fruit filled experience. But I felt like saying that. I think he was surprised when after savoring the experience I ordered another, sans fruit, fruit slice and, oh, did I mention? He wanted to salt the rim of the glass too.
Typical beer ignorance that was so dominant in the 80s; a time when “exotic” sometimes meant a Miller Dark in many places. Of course Miller Dark was pretty much the same damn recipe as regular Miller except food coloring and maybe a pinch of some denser, roasty: more interesting, malts.
So I saw Old Peculier at Midtown in Nashville just before Turkey Day and said, “What the hell, let’s see if it’s as good as I remember.”
Peculier was named after the peculier of Masham. Yes, “Masham,” I’m sure, is an unintentional brewing pun. A “peculier” is a parish outside the jurisdiction of a diocese. Old P is an Old Ale: not classified as actual “Old P” which would be real disgusting, so let’s not dither on that thought, shall we? Yes, classified as “Old Ale” even though the original gravity is just a tad low for the style. You’d never know.
Caramel nose with malt accent: no hops sensed, Old Peculier is brown with great ruby-esk highlights. The mouthfeel is very low on the carbonation side and it tastes malty sweet with a few darker malts peeking out in the taste. No diacetyl. Not real dark, by any means. There’s a very slight peated sense to the malt. Though the carbonation is low in the mouthfeel it fills the mouth with slightly sweet malt. But there are bubbles in the body, in the glass.
White, rocky, head that fades fast.
I suspect this bottle had been on the shelf for a while because there was slight oxidation: acceptable in the style.
To me Old Pecilier’s only problem is it’s a bit dated. Most Old Ales these days in America are stronger, and the body more of everything that is an Old Ale… like occasional sherry notes and a deeper body sense. But remember: this is the more traditional, original, English take on the style. They invented the bloody style. Can’t knock them for that.
Thank you. Makes me proud to be of mostly Brit/Welsh/Scot stock.
Ah, “Stock,” another beer pun to avoid. So we shall.
Honestly, I wouldn’t call OP “complex,” but it is what it is: an Old Ale, and a Mild, in the most traditional sense of the style.