London beer week seemed a fitting occasion for my fellow brewer B and I to unveil the fruits of our brewing efforts to a small select gathering of friends with taste buds …
Since stowing our bounty under B’s stairs to “mature” we had been busy designing a front and back label, which we subsequently applied in a very scientific if somewhat low tech labelling session … I say “we” but really B did it as I’ve failed wrapping 101 many times and thus I was not to be trusted (by my own admission) with something this important. Labelling is thirsty work so we opened a bottle and were delighted when we tasted it to find that it had indeed surpassed our own somewhat restrained expectations of greatness, and drink-ability even.
Now … how to present our creation to our no doubt eager audience. Bingo … a blind beer tasting was the obvious answer. We had made an American Pale Ale style of beer, so we decided to get five other styles of ale made by craft brewers that are on sale commercially (brave huh) and put them all into a blind line up. Our intrepid tasters would be asked to identify the styles, take a pot shot at the brewers, and rate their preferences (for research purposes naturally). They were also asked to decide if each of the 6 statements on the back label were true or false. Have a go at deciding on these yourself (no googling) and I’ll give you the answers next week.
a) Beer is made with hops which are a member of the marijuana family b) In ancient times when brewing began hops and marijuana were practically identical and could only be told apart by smell c) Hence, the first brewers were women d) as women’s sense of smell is far superior to men’s e) Woman brewers were known as “Brewsters” f) Neither Ted or B have any ancestors called Brewster
Everyone was provided with a cheat sheet that gave the characteristics (colour, smell, taste, and alcohol range) of each style and a list of the brewers. The styles were Botanical (a wild card as it can be made from anything really), Pale ale, Golden ale, India Pale ale, American Pale ale (the aforementioned joint venture creation) and a Ruby ale. Much looking, sniffing, slurping, and knowledgeable mutterings followed until it was time to hand in the guessing sorry I mean tasting sheets. My trusty accountant friend and chief scorer who shall remain nameless (Lizzie) had made the trek from out of town for the occasion and was duly locked in a room to compute the scores. Prizes were handed out for the best guessing and our little creation was rated 3rd favourite overall.