Friday, September 4, 2009

Beer O’Clock

Last Saturday afternoon we had the Raoul Island Beer Tasting Competition.

It's a tough job and we were pleased to be able to do it

The historic giant red formica table was hefted out on to the front lawn in the sunshine, the bottles all “blinded” so we didn’t know which of the 18 brews we were tasting, and we set to work.

Johnny B wondering if this is his winning brew

Colour, carbonation and turbidity are all part of the 'Appearance'

After all, it’s not easy after a few ales to distinguish ‘nutty’ from ‘grainy’ in the scent category, is it? And once you’ve read the ‘Finish’ notes carefully in order to be able to describe correctly the lingering sensation after a beer has been swallowed, how can you NOT use phrases like “Light Struck – Having the characteristic smell of a skunk.” I’m just grateful that none of my brews was described as “Oxidized-Stale – Taste/odour of wet cardboard…rotten vegetables…baby diapers.”

Nevertheless, there were some harsh judgements. Dave’s scores went from 50/50 to a damning 0/50 and it was distressing to see that one of my young (admittedly rather fresh) bottles was dismissed with the term “DANGEROUS” by one of my fellow judges.

We persevered to the bitter (or was it lager?) end, and the appropriate brews were lavished with universal praise. Johnny B took away the coveted “Best Beer in Show” award, and John Mac cleaned up in the Dark Beer category with first, second, third and fourth places. Actually, he may have got fifth sewn up, too, but my memory of the prizegiving is a little hazy. John Mac has specialised in low carb, low alcohol brews by putting in little or no sugar, and they’ve been a great success.

Gina and Gaye were both invited to participate in the judging but (for some reason I cannot fathom) they both declined. This meant we had a photographer and cracker-server, Gaye, and a chief pourer, Gina.

They both did a grand job!

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