Filling a 300-Year-Old Bottle
All About Beer Magazine - Volume 21, Issue 4September 1, 2000
I recently had the pleasure of acquiring what was described to me as a “300 year-old beer bottle,” unearthed from beneath a 17th century cottage in Cerne Abbas, Dorset, England. It is thick and heavy, holding somewhere between a pint and a quart, off-round, and with a lopsided neck. Whether it’s authentic I’ll have to verify elsewhere, but nothing about its appearance suggests more than a passing relationship with the Industrial Revolution. Its salt glaze is uneven; there are chips, exploded bubbles, stones, even traces of handprints from the potter who threw it. Far cruder, heavier and uglier than the Civil War-era bottles that show up on Ebay all the time, this one’s old. Holding this relic, I was drawn into its tale, and tried to imagine the sight of it, full and corked, holding a well-aged brew, warming some beer lover’s heart on a cold winter’s night in Dorset. What would such a beer taste like? Strong, weak, hoppy, herbed? It could have been any of those. I set out in search of a recipe.