Posts by admin

Beer and Cheese Tasting

Posted by on Mar 26, 2014

When you’re as involved in beer as I am it’s very easy to forget things. Things like the fact that 99% of the earth’s population doesn’t give a hoot about ‘proteolytic enzymes’, that £5 is a lot to spend on a beer described as ‘sour’ and that any beer (or wine or whisky for that matter) is just a drink, whatever fancy words and flavours myself or anyone else will attribute to it. Randy Mosher, an authority on beer tasting and beer and food pairing, makes a valid point when he states that beer is really just organically processed grass. Cheese happens to be as well. And maybe that’s why the two seem to go together so...

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Green with Envy

Posted by on Mar 19, 2014

On a day almost exclusively dedicated to the shamrock a few people decided to support my anarchic decision to focus on that other phenomenal green plant: the hop. This tasting proved to be another challenging one for me to set up. Sure, I could have simply based it around IPAs great and small, but I wanted to delve a bit deeper into how exactly hops influence beers. Then there’s the other side of the argument, as even the maltiest porter or stout you can get is influenced by hops in a way that’s probably worth talking about. But a beer like that is really more of a tribute to malt than to leafy green things. So, in the end we ended up with six beers that had...

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Praise The Lord

Posted by on Mar 16, 2014

Monday night’s Trappist and Abbey Ale tasting brought in quite a turnout which almost entirely consisted of brewing students. It is a somewhat curious thing that the Belgian lineups seem to attract those with a serious interest in beer. That isn’t to say that people who prefer American IPAs or come to a Scottish beer tasting don’t appreciate beer, it’s just that Belgian beers are, frankly, less approachable and much more difficult to comprehend than most others. In short, Belgian beers are the Burgundies of the beer world, and just as you’ll find with the best Burgundies, the complexity of the beverage is nothing compared to the nuggets of...

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Wood It Were Simple

Posted by on Mar 9, 2014

Having left off at new make spirit, it’s time to delve into the maturation of whisky and the important role that wood plays in how a whisky comes to be. Scotch whisky ages for at least three years in oak casks of no more than 700L capacity. There isn’t any specification on the type of oak used: it can be new or used, but distilleries almost always fill used oak casks with their spirit for three main reasons: 1) Used oak is cheaper than new oak. 2) Wood components are extracted more readily and in greater quantity in new oak barrels. Given the lengthy maturation period a new oak cask could simply make even a three year old whisky taste like sawdust. 3) Reusing...

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German Revival

Posted by on Mar 5, 2014

Following Oktoberfest I kind of went off German beer. And not just in a ‘I had a lot of Festbiers recently so I’m going to try something new for a change’ but in a ‘Day in and day out I’d honestly prefer to have anything other than a Pils or Hefe’ way. More than anything, I blame it on the weather. These beers were all too light and drinkable for those cold winter months which demand high-gravity Belgians and Bourbon barrel aged stouts. But when I went to the pub a few weeks back and decided to indulge in a Weinstephan Hefeweizen I was reminded of one thing: spring is coming. And spring- and summertime drinking demands sessionability,...

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