Sunday, April 5, 2009

Fresh Hop Pale Ale

This pale ale from Great Divide Brewing has a high white head which recedes relatively slow. Lots of lace. The color is clear and amber. Aroma is hoppy, but now piney as is often the case. The label says there are 55 IBUs and the taste is pretty hoppy. In fact, there are almost only hops, but not overwhelming. The label also states that it has a grassy aroma and citrusy taste. I didn't get either, but would agree to a grassy taste. The hops are all over the tongue instead of just in the back. It lasts a long time. I'd have to say this is a good pale ale, and perhaps should be classified as an IPA. Give it a 4 out of 5.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Beer Tasting Last Saturday Night

I conducted a beer tasting last Saturday night. A church I used to attend had a talent auction about a year ago and they asked me to auction off a beer tasting. The buyer redeemed it last Saturday. I billed it as Beers of the World, so I focused more on geography than style. I think it went well. Everyone seemed truely engaged in the beer and were even taking notes. It was a great group and we had a lot of fun. I provided the following beers for tasting, discussion, and evaluation:
  • Germany: Paulaner Hefeweizen (South German Style Hefeweizen)
  • Belgium: Grimbergen Blonde (Belgian Style Pale Strong Ale)
  • Scotland: Bitter & Twisted (Classic English Style Pale Ale)
  • Great Britain: Meantime IPA (English Style India Pale Ale)
  • Belgium: Chimay Grande Reserve/Chimay Bleu (Belgian Dark Strong Ale)
  • Sri Lanka: Lion Stout (Foreign/Export Stout)
  • United States: Three Philosophers Belgian Style Blend (Quad-Lambic)

We discussed each in terms of appearance, aroma, taste, mouthfeel, and overall impression. I provided rating sheets for those that wanted to take notes. Every beer seemed to be liked by someone. The Hefeweizen by few and the Bitter & Twisted by many. The Stout went over very well as did the Three Philosophers.

I have been to a lot of tastings and they are all about the beer to some degree. Most are put on by bars which charge $25 to $30 to as many as they can get. The discussion gets lost out in those usually being dominated by a few, but they are still fun. I really liked this approach with only 10 guests. Almost everyone asked questions or commented. I hope to do more and would prefer the smaller intimate setting like this one.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Siebel Institute – All About the Beer

Last October I attended a two day class at the Siebel Institute of Technology in Chicago. The Institute has been around about 150 years and trained most of the big names in brewing. Today they mostly train craft brewmasters with a program in Chicago and Munich. I attended a two day tasting class that was put on for distributors. I signed up as an individual as did a few others. We learned how to taste beers and evaluate them. Over the course of two days we tasted over 40 beers from 25 styles. I learned about problems that occur in beer, why I hate beer from green bottles, and a lot about aroma, appearance, and taste. We learned how to conduct our own tastings and promote our love of beer to others. It was pretty intense, but a lot of fun. The Siebel Institute is definitely about the beer. I proudly display my certificate of completion.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Communiversity - Almost About the Beer

I recently attended a communiversity class on beer tasting. Communiversity is a program conducted by the University of Missouri Kansas City. This one was held a McCoy's in Westport, a restaurant and bar section of Kansas City. The instructor's name is Jim Quinn. He has quite a lot of beer knowledge although a few points were apocryphal. The beers tasted initially were McCoy's brews and included a Lager, Raspberry Wheat, an IPA, a Brown Ale, a Stout, and a Wheat. All were fine with the Brown Ale being the best of the bunch. From McCoy's we moved to the Foundry and tasted bottled beers such as Coors, and Boulevard's Pale Ale. The class needs some work. The discussion included some beer history and a brief discussion of styles, but very little on the tasting experience. There were too many enrollees and some were obviously there to just espouse their own knowledge. It was hard to hear the instructor and often he just conversed with the folks down front. I was able to talk to the Assistant Brewmaster and had some questions answered about oxidation and light exposure. I would go back to McCoy's which gets a 3.5 out of 5 on being About the Beer. I would give the class another go, but it only gets 3 out of 5 on being About the Beer. Maybe they will work out some kinks.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Erdinger Hefeweizen

This is a hefeweizen from Erding, Germany. I was able to have it while in Spain and it was incredibly fresh. A little harder to find in the U.S. but it is well worth seeking out. This pours up with a high white head that holds fairly well. Aroma is sweet pineapple with slight banana, but no cloves as with a lot of wheat beers. Nice balanced beer and very easy to drink. Some slight alcohol taste with low hops. Finish is yeasty.
Rating: 5/5


This is a Belgium pilsner. Blonde color with a nice white head that recedes quickly. A full bodied pilsner with some soft malts and light hops.
Rating: 3.5/5

Chimay Tripel (Chimay White)

Golden to amber in color with a low white head. Estery aroma with a hint of clove and strong alcohol overtones. Nice light beginning with alcohol taste in the middle finishing with a balanced amount of hops. Lighter than most Chimays, I'm guessing due to wheat malt. Very complex
Rating: 4/5