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Before craft beer aficionado Matthew Starr buys a new IPA or Pilsener at his favorite beer store, he picks up the can to check for a date. “I’ve had too many bad experiences over the years with out-of-date beer that I’m not willing to gamble anymore.” Starr says he prefers to drink his IPAs within six weeks of canning, to fully appreciate the aromatics and flavors. manager for craft beer distributors Legends Limited, said he has seen customers “turn away a perfectly good IPA because it was more than 45 days old, even though it was well within its ‘best-by’ range,” as determined by the brewery.“I will look for a date code 100 percent of the time,” the 35-year-old D. If he’s not buying a beer at a brewery, “I will not buy an IPA if there’s not some sort of date on the bottle or can.” For those who just grab a six-pack off a shelf at the nearest grocery store, this quest for freshness might sound weird, but Starr’s not alone. In one extreme case, he watched a man “tear apart a 30-case display of Budweiser just to get an 18-pack with a born-on date only a week fresher than the rest of the display.” [Make room, hoppy IPA.While old beer will not make you sick it won't taste good.A typical refrigerated beer will taste fresh for about four to six months past the freshness date.It doesn't mention on the bottle that the top string of numbers is actually the date and time of bottling.(Fritz Hahn/The Washington Post) Some breweries simply stamp a date onto the bottom of the can, which is usually a “canned on” date, even if it doesn’t say so.
A “best before” date is more helpful, but it doesn’t clearly tell a customer how fresh a particular beer is.Even though beer is a perishable product it is not required to have a shelf life date.Most companies use a "born on" or "freshness" date so that consumers can get an idea of how old the beer is.The only product for which the Food Safety and Inspection Service regulates sell-by dates is infant formula.) There is no standard way for breweries to share how fresh their beer is.Stone Brewing (left) is one of the best in the industry, telling drinkers not only the place (Richmond Virginia) and the date where its Double IPA was bottled, but the date by which it should be consumed.