Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Bomb Shelter Beer

Bomb shelters aren't something many under 40 have much of a frame of reference for except perhaps being akin to preparing for a zombie apocalypse. They are a real thing, the majority of which are probably only known to a small number of people. One in Portland was "discovered" by a friend who showed up at an estate sale and kindly shared a couple pictures he snapped while there.

This particular bomb shelter is located in SW and belonged to a prominent, local radiologist. It contained, among other things, some bottles of Widmer beer in brown paper bags. My friend was able to acquire those bottles and over the weekend invited some folks over for the opening of one of them.

A Festbier at a mere 5.2% ABV wouldn't be an obvious choice to age and might be regarded with some suspicion but I've had 20-year-old beers before that turned to be quite good. This one was coming on 28 years old and we figured as long as this didn't foam over upon opening it was probably fine. Not only did it not foam over, there was a pleasant "fsssss" as it was uncapped letting us know that some carbonation remained.

Poured into glasses, it gave off a raisin aroma reminiscent of a fairly sweet beer, sweeter than it actually was and it wasn't unpleasant to drink. Overall, quite impressive for a low ABV beer to have aged so well for such a long time. Nice job, Widmer! And big thanks to Paul for the invitation to try this rare beer.


  1. Should have been a Willamette Week story. Good stuff for the beer crowd.