This week I visited William Street Beer Company in Cobourg, Ontario, which is located in an old white car garage on (where else) William Street. The brewery is pretty small with space for a couple of beer fridges at the entrance, a shelf for some beer swag and a bar where you can grab a small pour of whatever happens to be on tap. When I visited this happened to be nothing.
The behind the counter beer guy explained they have been having some up and downs since opening, selling a lot of beer (a good thing) and have refrigeration issues (a not so good thing). The fridge stocks were likewise depleted so my only option was to purchase one of the half dozen or so remaining bottles of their English Golden Ale. I was told this beer did not turn out quite like expected but it had an interesting citrus note. A little unsure about the descriptor I hated to leave empty handed so I tried it. I mean what do you have to lose right?
Well apparently a little more than I would have thought.
I popped the beer into my freezer bag in the car and when I got home I put the bottle in the basement, which is always pretty cool (temperature not style). After dinner I am sitting upstairs when I hear a loud bang followed by a loud yell. I hurry downstairs to find an exploded beer bottle and beer everywhere and my very startled looking spouse standing midst the carnage.
Now being the dutiful beer geek I am and having had a previous experience with a combustible bottle of my own home brew I thought I should notify the brewery so they could pull those last couple of bottles from their fridge.
Their response was not what I expected.
Instead of saying thanks for letting us know or saying sorry about the exploding bottle or even offering to pour me pint next time I stopped in, I was told (via Twitter as they never wrote back to my email) no one else reported the ‘spontaneous combustion’ of their bottle and ‘they could not replace the bottle’?!?
Ouch. Not the answer I hoped for and to be honest this response kind of puts me off the brewery. I mean I am not some beer neophyte who left the bottle in the blazing sun for hours and hours and even if I were they made no effort to discern what could have went wrong. Not to sound trite but I like to think I know a bit about beer storage and bottles just are not supposed to explode at random.
So I have to ask, what do you think fellow beer geeks? Is a blown-up bottle just a random occurrence? Was something wrong with the beer? Should a brewery take some interest in this?