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Thomas Hardy's Ale

Scarce, subtle and complex, Thomas Hardy's Ale is the beer enthusiast's equivalent of rare cognac. Bottle-conditioned to mature in the bottle like fine wine, this old ale/barley wine will improve with age for at least 26 years (and we're still counting!). Not for the faint of palate, especially when young and brash, maturity brings an elegance of flavors unmatched by any other beer—if you have the patience to cellar it for at least a decade.

Consider these vintage tasting notes from a 1994 Malt Advocate tasting. "It [the 1974 vintage] doesn't taste like a beer at all, and I would be elated if a case were in my cellar, offered one taster. Lightly sharp up front and somewhat vinous, the flavor slowly revealed toasted malt, walnuts and almonds, burnt wood, and a hint of anise." On the original 1968 vintage, "We were all convinced it had many additional years to mature. It was like no beer I have ever tasted. Nor do I expect to taste one like this anytime soon. Creamy butterscotch notes flood the taste buds, laced with subtle complex fruit...and a subtle suggestion of vintage port. Elegant and seamless, this beer was a waltz on the palate. Truly sophisticated."