Nothing is more humbling than being proven wrong. There are exceptions to that general rule. One fun way of testing your tastebuds is the blind taste test.
I bring this up because Blue Palms will be hosting their 2nd Annual Ultimate Brown Bag Tasting and Brunch on June 11. 24 beers over the course of 4 hours and you do not know the brewer or brew. It is a true test of your senses and to your memory of beers had in the past, sometimes the distant past.
Blind tastings are a great way to sharpen your focus without making beer drinking a chore. And it always leads to surprises. Beers that you thought you didn’t like suddenly become better. The brewery that you had forgotten about or passed over, creating a new favorite beer. And, of course, the reverse is true. Without the inherent bias that we use every day, tastes actually changes.
Here are a few hints on how to approach the blind tasting….
1. First, determine the beer style. In most instances, if you have sampled enough good beer, you should be able to differentiate between the stout and the dubbel or the sour. Narrowing down whether a beer is IPA or Double IPA may be difficult but the point is to get yourself in the ballpark.
2. Notice what jumps out at you first. Is it the color? The aroma? Is there a noticeable flavor like grapefruit or coffee?
3. Look for noticeable brewery signatures. Is the beer really bold? Maybe it could be from Stone. Is there a noticeable hop flavor? Maybe that will lead you to a bitterness that you get when you drink Sierra Nevada beer.
4. Overall, take your time. You will be getting 5-6 beers in 3oz pours each hour. There is no need to rush things. Savor the beer.
5. Enjoy being wrong. Matt Olesh from Blue Palms thinks that 4-6 beers might be guessed correctly. Any more would be uber beer geek impressive.
The Blue Palms tasting is Saturday, June 11. The price is $55 for the brunch (which starts at 10:30 a.m.) and tasting, or $45 for the tasting alone. Buy your tickets Here.
For the craft Beer of the Week, I recommend Victory Brewing’s Headwaters Pale Ale. It is an anniversary beer of sorts for the Pennsylvania brewery. Normally those end up being big imperial stouts but Victory has gone back to basics with a simple but pleasant brew with some nice grain notes and a pleasant light citrus bitterness. An excellent summer time brew.
Your Homework is to do clear your schedule for next week. Because it is American Craft Beer Week and that means that your local craft beer watering hole will probably have some good stuff on tap. Library Alehouse in Santa Monica, alone, has a themed brewery each night.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.