Images of a Mad Beer Taster

February 13, 2010

Some days are good days for beer tasting.
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Are You Loyal?

February 11, 2010

Part of the motivation behind The Beer Trials is to help people break out of their comfort zones, beer-wise, and find new beers and styles that fit their palates. The tendency to stick with what we know is a normal, human one—it’s one of the central pieces of the wonderful The Omnivore’s Dilemma—but the downsides are obvious.

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A Cicerone Is You!

February 9, 2010

I’ve been feeling guilty about not posting here more often, but between the book work, a housemate moving out, and prepping our house for some remodeling, there’s been little time. But I have managed to find the time to share this: I’ve just received the results of the exam I took in Vail. I have earned the right to call myself a Certified Cicerone™.

I wrote about the Cicerone program last month. I’ve since discovered that Cicerone program founder Ray Daniels has a pretty sweet twitter feed that he uses to post beer style info and trivia.

Tasted this weekend

January 9, 2010

… and I think I’ve managed my palate well enough to offer opinions on nearly all of these beers, if anyone is interested:
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Availing myself of some beer

January 8, 2010

I’m currently in Vail, Colorado, where the Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywines festival is taking place. It’s not like Portland, let me tell you. At 8,000 feet above sea level, I’m pretty much constantly aware that the air is much thinner than at home, and it’s almost painfully cold and dry.

My primary purpose here is completed, which was to take the Craft Beer Institute’s Certified Cicerone exam. Read the rest of this entry »

Blind Tastings Commence

December 17, 2009

This week saw the first three of our blind tastings to produce the notes that will form the bulk of the book. I’m going to try to get in the habit of posting a photo of each night’s tasting lineup here. Of the tastings this week, I only got a shot of the first night’s, so here it is:
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What did you drink last weekend?

December 12, 2009

If you joined us for the beersperiment down at the Green Dragon, here’s what:
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That’s a Wrap

December 7, 2009

… now the hard work can begin. We finished two days of serving beer to people at the Green Dragon, which was a lot of fun work. We got 250-275 samples, which is decent, though I’d wished for more. A cold snap that hit last night and persisted through the day probably depressed the turnout somewhat.

The experiment involved serving a flight of pale Continental lagers (Czechvar, Heineken, Stella Artois) and a flight of American craft ales with significantly different levels of bitterness (Fat Tire, Mirror Pond, Ninkasi Believer) to see if people could identify/spot duplicate samples and test some theories about beer experience and preference for bitterness.
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Getting Back to Where We’ve Been

December 4, 2009

Here’s an update to my current beer To-Do list:

  • Re-clamp gas system for basement draft setup (there’s a leak)
  • Refill CO2 tank (… there’s a leak)
  • Keg 10 gallons of hoppy rye beer
  • Bottle half of the Scotch Ale
  • Keg the other half
  • Update the fittings and connectors on the immersion chiller to allow combined immersion/counterflow chilling for the next brew
  • Write a book about beer

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How the time flies, and more Deschutes

November 11, 2009

Ack! Has it really been two weeks since my last post? That’s too long. I’m out of the country next week, so we’ll have another interruption soon, but I’m going to try to fill the space between now and then with regular updates.

Last week I attended the release party for the 2009 Deschutes Abyss Imperial Stout, at the Deschutes Portland Brewpub. A couple hundred people turned out for a 2PM event at a pub to buy beer at $12/bottle. Only in Portland, I tell you.

The Abyss, for those of you who haven’t encountered it before, is an Imperial stout. It’s brewed with molasses and licorice, and a third of the final blend is aged in oak casks. This is the fourth release. Read the rest of this entry »