I confess that I’m a beer geek. I enjoy beer tastings structured around a theme, like IPAs or ESBs. But sometimes, when you know what is in the glass, you taste … what you know you’re supposed to taste. So lately, I’ve started thinking about blind tastings where you have no idea what you’re tasting. We tried it today by including a “mystery ale” in the flight. I wanted to see how the experts (aka the brewers) approach tasting an unknown beer.
- Mystery Ale. This beer is a pale straw colour with a straw/grassy nose along with hints of lemon-haze and mint. The taste has a definite lemon flavour that is reminiscent of a shandy. It’s quite effervescent with an earth/fermented character that reminds me of silage. I was hoping the brewers wouldn’t recognize this as a special “wet hopped” brew they made using home grown hops. Alas, I was disappointed, and they quickly identified the beer as one of their own experimental brews.
John’s Take: This is really quite good…
- Who Wears Schwartz Schwartz: This Schwarzbier is black with a garnet hue. It smells of powdered chocolate with smokey/bacon overtones that evoke memories of campfires and good times. The taste is balanced and mild, fading quickly but leaving a faint lingering campfire smoke taste.
John’s Take: Stale chocolate cake.
- Stay Warm: This “Winter warmer” beer is a lovely ruby/copper colour with a brown sugar and plum sauce nose. The taste is like dried plums with moderate sweetness balanced by a noticeable bitterness. Perfect to keep you warm on a cold winter day.
John’s Take: Not my style.
- Fuller’s Imperial IPA: This beer is meant to be aged, and this particular specimen has been lurking in my cellar for several years now. The colour is rich with hues of cherry wood and rosewood. The nose is reminiscent of amaretto, licorice and “Blueberry Tea”. When you take a sip, it coats your mouth with a buttery richness and flavours of dried apricot, amaretto, and caramelized fruit.
John’s Take: Smooth as silk