Druggists organized a mega cult beer tasting again – this time with 23 beers spread over 2 hours. Having really enjoyed myself at the last one 2 years ago(and being pretty competitive myself), I signed up without much thinking.
Here are the facts and figures:
- Blind Tasting
- 23 Beers, draft
- 50-70ml per serve
- 2 hours
Sounds easy enough, dosen’t it? Well, knowing how much Lincoln and Corrine love to mess with our minds – there had to be a twist somewhere.
Most participants were semi-regulars at Druggists and no stranger to the range of beers that were on – many of us had tasted the exact same beers on other occasions, whether there or elsewhere. The likes of To Øl, Mikkeller, Amager and De Molen among others – how badly could we fare?
Very badly, it turns out. Tasting starts easy enough with our senses sharp and ready – we assign our mystery beers their names with confidence and quickly pour the remainder away. As time goes on – our senses start to muddle, and the server brings the next pour all too quickly before we are done with our decision.
7 Things I learnt from this tasting:
- We were provided an index of the beers we would taste – with their names, styles and ABV.
What we did:
Stare at the list continuously while tasting, and trying to place the beers into their respective spots.
What we should have done:
Take individual tasting notes for each and every beer, and only try to assign beers once tasting is over, or perhaps midway through.
- We had 2 glasses per person which eventually got fouled by running multiple beers through them, even with repeated rinsing of water – it dosen’t quite beat a soap and spray rinse.
- One participant brought a bag of coffee beans to sniff, to keep the nose sharp between beers. Useful – its a must at perfume stores. Why didn’t we think of that?
- ABV estimation – usually seems to be lower for a beer, rather than higher. If you think a beer tastes boozy but you check it as a ‘light’ style – Check again!
- Looking at ‘reviews’ online to get a glimpse into the flavor profile of a beer can be hit and miss – but then again, breweries don’t provide much tasting notes either. Actual beer judging is easier! Craft brewers have the freedom to choose whether to adhere to a style guideline – but often, exciting beers are made when boundaries are broken.
- Don’t just go by the nose – pay attention to the mouthfeel, the density, the aftertaste – all those are valuable clues that could make or break(or score).
- Imported beers aren’t always brewery-fresh and therefore may not travel well. The evolution of flavors also masks or changes the perception of original flavors and aromas. Beers do change on tap from day to day as well – well.. you’d only know if you’ve worked behind the bar!
Suffice to say, we managed to mix up a braggot with a persimmon saison – but my team bagged the prize of a Westvleteren 12 and Pannepot Grand Reserva which we of course shared with everyone.
Lastly, thanks to Lincoln and Corrine for ensuring we had a great time by fooling our tastebuds, and the awesome staff of Druggists who gave us more pours of the beers we absolutely had to retaste(but got them wrong anyway)!
Until next time!