Although I’ve been a big fan of craft beer for years now, a beer tasting is something I’d never attempted to helm until last weekend. Now that I’ve hosted one, I can’t wait to do it again, and recommend it to everyone as a way to try great beer and have fun with your friends.
The setup for my tasting was pretty simple. I invited over a half-dozen people, with the only real guideline being that each person brought a different craft beer for everyone to try. I also got dry crackers and toasts to clean the palate, and cheeses to match with each beer. While the order ended up a little jumbled, we tried to drink the beer in order from least to most strong in terms of alcohol and flavor. Samples were poured at about 3-4oz each, which seemed like enough to get a good taste for each brew without people being blitzed before the last beer. Being the resident “expert” on beer, I talked a bit about each style and each specific beer as we drank it.
The event went even better than I had hoped. While the pours may have ended up being a little too generous, everyone enjoyed all the beer and had good comments for each one. It is probably worth noting at this point that the guys tasting the beer – mostly the team at Tasty Dude Films – are writers, and the reviews quickly became a game of writing one-upmanship. Although they don’t tell you a ton about the beer, I honestly wish more reviews were done with the kind of flair exhibited here.
Here are the thoughts that Jon, Jake, Aaron and Travis had on each of the eight beers we tried. Emphasis on some one-liners was added by me. One more note; if you’re easily offended by adult language, be warned that the writing got a little more blue towards the last few reviews.
Dream Weaver Wheat
Brewery: Tröegs Brewing Company
Style: American Pale Wheat Ale
Jake: Spicy. Meaty.
Jon: If I was a bee, this would be the nectar I drink.
Aaron: Smooth and spicy. Like a summer evening in my mouth.
Travis: BANANARAMA! Wonderful mouthfeel, smooth and yeasty. The finish is pleasant and long enough to make me want more. Much more. I love a good yeasty wheat.
Dead Guy Ale
Brewery: Rogue Ales Brewery
Jake: Thick. Creamy. Reminds me of export-style beer.
Jon: My German ancestors essence stirs within me. They are content, satisfied.
Aaron: Powerful and comes at you with a bat of hops, while it lays you to rest with it’s sweet ABV.
Travis: The high ABV makes me a lot less scared of the police, but the sweet creamy malt tells me to stay indoors, light a fire and stare at it all night.
Brewery: Allagash Brewing Company
Jake: Spicy, thin and smooth. Rests on the tongue and slides down.
Jon: [Review was written as a haiku] A bear lifts his nose / sniffs the air, senses a warmth / Allagash Tripel
Aaron: A triple-sweet playground for yeast to eat, grow, and be consumed alive by people.
Travis: Strong and sugary, like the mighty Allagash flowing with the spring melt mountain watershed over tiny rapids of sharp blue cheese, over my palate, and down into my gullet. Happy. So proud I picked it. Tears to my eyes delicious.
Gonzo Imperial Porter
Brewery: Flying Dog Brewery
Style: Imperial Porter
Jake: Thick and dark like eating a chocolate bar during the industrial revolution. I don’t know what this means. It’s a feel, like coal and smoke and hard work and TB (in a good way). This is a tasty porter.
Jon: Rasputin and I were chilling and he was like “dude, have this beer.”
Aaron: A wonderful earthy porter – it makes me feel like a man. Take that, dad.
Travis: Pretty head the color of coffee beans that fades quickly. I can not smell it. The deep porter lets me sink but the ABV keeps me kicking to keep my head over water. With the Gruyere, I am taking in earth, stone and the world’s lifeblood.
Really Old Brown Dog Ale
Brewery: Smuttynose Brewing Company
Style: English Strong Ale
Jake: Buttery? Is that the word I’m looking for? Buttery and fruity. The fruity finish fades away, like a Caribbean breeze. Like biting into a pineapple turnover cake. This beer is a dessert that you don’t have to wait until dessert for, amirite?
Jon: I’m lost at sea and Jasper, that old asshole, waits until the captain is asleep then jabs his jack knife into a nearby keg bound for the Colonies. We share our bounty with the crew, and sing songs from the Old Country until dawn.
Aaron: A brown ale for a brown man. Sit old dog, sit. Good dog.
Travis: Teaches you the beauty of the color BROWN. Educates the soul in what barley can do, like sway in the breeze with it’s brothers. This beer makes me sway with my brothers. And with cheddar – pure sex. Hot sex in my mouthface.
Brewery: Oskar Blues Grill & Brewery
Style: Russian Imperial Stout
Jake: What the fuck kind of stout comes in a can? This awesome kind. Thick, heavy, bitter. This was so heavy I kept spilling it.
Jon: This is a beer I could drink in the morning before work, but that is a start down a slippery slope.
Aaron: Aw shit son! This is a stout for the streets, son. You feel me? It’s got the dark gangsta biz with a little coffee to back that shit up. This is a beer for a real baller, motherfucker.
Travis: Dude. Malt. I just figured this shit out – awesome.
Full Throttle IPA
Brewery: Sebago Brewing Company
Style: American Double IPA
Jake: Ahh yeah, I’m a hops man. This is my jam. I will get this again, on my own.
Jon: FUCK YOU!!! I WILL KILL YOUR FAMILY oh hey this beer is tasty.
Aaron: I got a need for speed and HOPS!!
Travis: Holy shit! What’s up? Oh, hops. That’s right. HOPS. Chill out, Sebago, you’re going too fast. Pump the brakes, ‘cuz I’m not catching up. Wooo, wooo.
Brewery: Stone Brewing Company
Style: Imperial IPA
Jake: Sometimes you need to get ruined, in the face. Every time is one of those times.
Jon: [explicit drawing]
Aaron: Stone Cold Hops … Diehops … Bad Hops 2 … Breakhops … 300 (hops) … The Watchhops.
Travis: These hops are messing with my shit. These hops fucked me up. I need to pee. But I’m CERTAINLY taking this in with me for the whole experience, baby!
If you ever want to do a beer tasting with friends, this certainly seems like a good setup. Let me know in the comments what kind of experiences you’ve had with beer tastings, and if you agree with any of these reviews if you’ve had the beer.