It turns out there’s no good reason I can’t have the Oregon Brewers Festival experience at home.
One of the things I loved most about the festival was the opportunity to taste multiple beers in the same style side-by-side (and sometimes “-by-side”). Evaluating a raspberry wheat beer next to an IPA? Not so much fun. Two raspberry wheat beers together? That’s the ticket. My palate would notice the similarities but it would also highlight the differences. I noticed more of the subtleties when I tasted beers in the same style together.
Now, I’ve said before that one of the keystones of my wine education was tasting a lot of wine. Not just drinking it, but tasting it. That meant doing it in a controlled environment, being conscious of what I was experiencing, and talking with other people what they were getting out of it. As I’ve been writing about wine here, I’ve been tempted to set up some wine tastings of my own, based on the examples in Great Wine Made Simple. There are logistical issues with that, however.
The problem with doing wine tastings at home is that you have to have enough people for it make sense to open a lot of bottles. If you’re doing a two-ounce tasting pour, there are twelve tastes in a bottle. You might pour a little heavier than that, but not if you’re going to try to taste six wines. As a practical matter, I would want six people involved before I was going to open three bottles of wine for a tasting. Wrangling six people together for a wine tasting can be more of hassle than its worth.
And what I realized last night is that beer comes in smaller bottles in wine. I was looking for some of the Monk’s Cafe — a tasty Flemish Sour Red Ale that had with dinner on Friday night and quite liked — and I had stopped by San Roque Liquor, whose excellent selection makes it my favorite place to go looking for beer. They had the beer I was looking for, which made me happy. I decided to have a look around and inspiration struck. They had 330 ml (11.2 oz.) bottles of all three of the Rochefort beers: the 6, 8, and 10. Gwen and I are both fans of Trappist brews, and the Rochefort 10 is one of my favorite beers. So I picked up one of each, and last night before we played Asara, Gwen, James, and I did a comparison tasting. I gave everyone three glasses and split each of the bottles between them. The quantity worked out perfectly, and we could have easily added a fourth beer. The experience was just what I was looking for: a real beer tasting that helped me notice the differences between the beers and solidified my sense of the style.
Three is an easy number to rustle up. We’ve been talking about trying to play board games more regularly. It wouldn’t surprise me if at least some of those sessions turn into beer tastings as well.
UpdateFitness: Pushups (9-11-8-8-5)
Sun, Moon, and Stars: 382 words, 386 seven-day average, 270 average, 39091 total, 1909 to go for the week; 12-day streak