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Since You Asked: Old beer doesn't age as well as wine

My husband was rummaging through the garage and found an old chilly bin with a six-pack of RAINIER beer!!! When did that company go out of business? And do you suppose the beer is still potable?

— Maxine S.

Maxine, the brewmeister here at the Since You Asked International Institute of Collaborative Fermentation says DON'T DRINK THAT BEER.

Place it in a large, insulated, vintage Kampkold Aluminum Cooler with 25 pounds of ice and a jumbo size tin of Aunt Ruby's Country Style Gourmet Peanuts and sent it to the Since You Asked International Hopping and Malting Headquarters.

Actually, Maxine, it's probably drinkable, but it's probably not very good. Beer, at least cheap beer, doesn't improve with age a la fine wine. Strong, hoppy beers age better than cheap beer. Beer in cans may last longer than bottled beer because it's pasteurized — but who wants to drink beer out of a can?

We suggest using it to cook.

As to your first question, 1999. The Rainier brewery next to Interstate 5, known to locals simply as "the brewery," is now used — times being what they are — by Tully's Coffee to roast (what else?) coffee beans.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to youasked@mailtribune.com.