The beauty of Teignworthy’s Edwin Tucker Victorian Stock Ale 1999 (12%) is that you cannot get hold of it anymore. Why is this a beauty? It’s because it’s similar to a play or a piece of music that is only heard several times, not recorded and never played again and then just remembered fondly by those who were there. It’s about impermanence and shining brightly for one moment, an antidote to an age where everything is recorded for the posterior of posterity and — sticking my neck out here — beers like this are perhaps the closest brewing gets to a flash of light seen far out at sea, or a flurry of words or musical notes once heard but always remembered. This was brewed in 1999 when my son was one year old, when the farmhouse we then lived in ran out of water briefly and when I joined the British Guild of Beer Writers. It’s about deep malt-forward flavours, the influence of age and oxygen, the stillness of the beer, the sherry like sweetness, the strange marmite and sweet orange marmalade combo that allays any fear of the unknown on the nose; it’s about thickness on the palate, a fudginess, smoothness, creaminess, all of which allows the saltiness of cheese to bring a different note to the song that is being sung. It cuddles and comforts an aged Edam, confronts and then contours itself around an equally aged Cheddar, while for the slices of molten, slipping-into-the-abyss, slide-over-easy slices (if you can call them that) of Pont l’Eveque, it is as natural a fit as James Joyce was to being a chronicler of the ineluctable seesawing of life and all its constituents.