You Can Now Buy 86-Year-Old Beer Intended For The British Coronation That Never Was

Barrel-aged beers are popular these days among the craft beer community. Placed in barrels ranging from bourbon to rum to wine, this helps produce or enhance certain distinctive flavors in the beer (via Thirst Mag). These small-batch beers are typically aged for several months to a couple of years, depending on the brew. 

However, sometimes a beer is just forgotten and accidentally left to grow old on its own, as was the case with a brew called Coronation Ale that is tied to a historic occasion. The British brewer Greene King made small batches of Coronation Ale specially for King Edward VIII's coronation to be held on May 12, 1937. The problem with that coronation is that it never actually happened. Edward VIII ended up abdicating the throne so he could marry an American divorcee named Wallis Simpson. 

The beer was never used, and the bottles were transferred to Greene King's cellars, where they languished before being found during renovation work in 2011. Now you have the chance to buy a seriously aged beer (86 years to be exact) from a British coronation that never was (via The Telegraph).

However, you can't drink this

Greene King will be auctioning off the Coronation Ale bottles as collector's items on May 5, a day before King Charles' coronation. Proceeds will benefit a charity called the Prince's Trust (per The Drinks Business). Greene King estimates that the ABV for Coronation Ale would have hovered around an imperial-like 12%, packing quite the punch. There is just one major drawback of purchasing these old beers – you can no longer drink them. At this point, they aren't drinkable due to how many years have passed. So, don't expect to get anything out of them beyond admiration for a historically-noteworthy curio and the positive feeling that comes with supporting a good cause.

Before you shed a tear over the beer, just know that you can try a modern version. The past meets the present as Greene King has brewed a 2023 version of Coronation Ale in celebration of the coronation of King Charles. The good news is that you can actually drink this beer, as it will be available in pubs and online. The ABV is also a more manageable 4%. However, competition will be stiff, because it's a limited edition beer brewed only in small batches. At least this time around Coronation Ale won't be relegated to the cellars to collect dust.