Originally Posted by jblaven
It seems that we should keep our beer bottled longer to help it finish... so why is it that the commercial beers have a "freshness date". If the seal hasn't been broken, why wouldn't it be "fresh"?
It all depends on the character of the beer. Some beer you want to be as fresh as possible. The balance of hops and malt or whatever they are trying to emphasize are going to change. Now, I'm not going to talk about a beer like Bud, but let's take one with a date that makes sense.
Pliny the Elder is best fresh. The newer the beer, the better the flavor profile will be. The hops will lose character with time, so this beer makes total sense to date accordingly.
Now, I know we're mostly talking about ****ty BMC beer, but they also have taste thresholds that they like to maintain. We may not appreciate or understand it, but they have impeccable quality control, and that is all part of it. Of course, it is more about marketing than anything, but there is fact behind it, even if it doesn't make much sense for a beer that isn't very good to begin with.