I’m sure we used to call beer tasting “going down the pub” but with the growth in craft beer these events are becoming more popular. I do like beer tasting- clearly drinking beer being the best part of appreciating it. Apart from the obvious drinking beer bit though, I do enjoy the discussion about that beer. There is a culture emerging with craft beer that people are talking about beer and it is becoming less niche to talk about what hops were used, whether or not they were part of the brew or added as a dry hop.
People are becoming more discerning about their beer and I find it fascinating to hear some of the back stories about how some of the beers were created. I was at a beer tasting at Small Bar in Cardiff recently and was hearing about the Rainbow Project which pairs breweries that come together to brew some experimental brews. I did enjoy trying West Fork Saison by Partizan Brewery who we visited in 2015 on the Bermondsey Beer Mile and New Belgium, who in contrast I’d never heard of!
We also had a (slightly heated!) debate about Buriel Vault, described as a “white stout”, brewed by Burning Sky and 3 Floyds as part of the same Rainbow Project. I can just about cope with the idea that a stout doesn’t have to be dark (well maybe..) but at the very least, it would have to taste like a stout. If someone were to create a beer using the right combination of flavours so that in a blind taste I would think it was a dark stout colour, then maybe I’d accept that as a white stout. A beer that tastes very much of the wooden barrel it was in and not of a rich malt, I’m afraid is not a stout. But the good news is that we live in a world where we can have that kind of a debate with fellow beer lovers!