Saturday, August 7, 2010

On Blind Tasting

I've been friends with wine nerds for quite a few years now. A few of them have judged wines or done blind tastings and written up their experiences, and I've always found them interesting, but never realized one very important thing: Blind tasting is hard, y'all.

When Brian Yaeger asked me if I'd like to participate in a blind tasting, I jumped at the chance. I am notoriously bad at describing beer, even when I know good and well what I'm drinking. While fellow beer geeks are sitting around discussing notes of vanilla and sage and knowing which moon phase this beer was probably brewed under, I'm best at drawing comparisons. More rich than that, less spicy but more full than something fairly comparable, more boozy but smoother, etc. These things get me pretty far in life.

Where this method gains zero traction is when you are drinking summer fruit beers out of paper bags.

And then you give Bud Light Lime 9/10, and then you rave about it to the esteemed beer geeks around you. If you're lucky, they will be doing the same thing.

I could go on and on about the reasons I totally shouldn't be embarassed, but I will instead just say this: It was legitimately refreshing. Honestly! And of course it is - this is what the big, commercial beers traditionally are. It was unchallenging and a little tart and a breath of fresh air, coming at the end of a string of often heavy, occasionally syrupy, over-the-top fruity beers. If I get my choice, I'm going to go for some crazy high-octane bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout any day, but that's hardly what I want to be drinking on a 95 degree day laying on a raft in a lake. While I'm probably never going to actually purchase a case of it, I can absolutely see why someone might.

If you're able to still trust this beer nerd at this point, and wondering about my actual summer fruit beer preferences, I would go with Dogfish Head's Festina Peche every single time. Lost Coast's Tangerine Wheat is lovely, but much more fruity. And if you're seeking less-summery fruit, please try the Alaskan Raspberry Wheat.

A special thanks to Brian for the invitation, and Tom for not only allowing us to use the bar, but participating in a tasting of a style of beer he traditionally hates. Thanks, guys!

See Brian's writeup at SFoodie here. All images in this post are from Brian's article as well.

No comments:

Post a Comment