Beer

What we’ve been drinking

Why’s the Rum Gone?

Posted by on May 7, 2014

The great thing about knowing words like ‘esterify’ and ‘polyphenols’ is that as soon as you start throwing them around people seem to think you know what your talking about. The joke’s on them, though: I know nothing! In all seriousness, when I was nominated to run a once-in-a-blue-moon rum tasting I did feel like my fancy vocabulary had turned around and bitten me right in the rear. I like to think I can speak fairly intelligently about most spirits, particularly whisky, but my knowledge of rum was (and probably still is) somewhat lacking and so I drove myself to buckle down and conduct some extensive research before standing up in front...

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Beer and Cheese Round 2

Posted by on Apr 29, 2014

The leadup to an exam is never much fun. For me it generally consists of nervous pacing and mumbling intermingled with sporadic dives to my binder to find that equation that will surely come up (but never does). I then make my way to uni, clearing my head with a bit of music before realizing that I left far too early and am forced to sit and wait outside the exam hall for 20 minutes while my course mates and I make each other even more anxious by bringing up one thing or another that one of us had completely forgotten to cover. And I pay for this crap. The good news is that as soon as I sit down all the stress and anxiety floats away and I reach a point of transcendental...

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Scents and Sensibility

Posted by on Apr 2, 2014

Back in February, a regular at Comely Bank proposed that I conduct a blind beer tasting.* I was very excited about the idea but then faced the problem of formatting. What exactly should be the challenge here: Should I be presenting six similar styles and let them judge their favourite without the influence of brand and brewer? Should I only feature one brewer and have them pick out which beer is which? Should I present two different brewers and set it up as a blind contest between the two? The number of possibilities was daunting! But even though I wasn’t sure how I’d do it, I knew that I would have a lot of fun at this tasting — primarily because I...

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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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