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    Monday, 17 March 2008

    Drinking Blind - An Interesting Experience

    Whilst at Leicester Beer Festival last week I had a few surprises. By that I meant that I asked Simon to buy beers and not tell me what they were until I'd drank them and made notes and impressions of them.

    It made for a really interesting experience. The six beers I tasted blind are listed below with some information on my findings:

    1. Caythorpe Dark Gem - We'd talked about this beer ealrier, so I had an idea it was this when I tasted that it was clearly a mild. It was OK, and a typical mild, but fell short of some of the really good milds out there at the moment such as those from Great Oakley and Potbelly. Simon enjoyed it more than I did.

    2. Church End Tekuté Zlato - This is supposedly a Slovakian styled lager. I marked it down as a light bitter with some fruity hops, more of the pineapple type flavour than citric fruits. It was pretty decent.

    3. Everards Hazy Daze - I guessed this straight away, as it truly was a hazy wheat beer, and actually very good. Pretty authentic fruity flavours and good spices make this a superior British take on a Belgian Wit and is as good a beer as I've had from Everards in years.

    4. Tunnel Munich Style Lager - another supposed lager style beer; this time German rather than Eastern European. I had this down as a golden ale with good citric flavours from the hops. Nothing like a Munich styled lager in my opinion. I did enjoy it though.

    5. Thornbridge Gildas - I guessed this as soon as I smelled it. Simon knew I wanted to try this, and its aroma was so very very good. You could tell this was a superior British hoppy beer and the 6.5% alcohol was noticeable in the nose, which I could have sniffed at for a long time, but there was drinking to be done. It drank just as well as it smelled. Wonderful full on flavours from both the hops and the malts. A lovely beer.

    6. Milestone Raspberry Wheat - Simon was being mischeivous now as he knows I'm not a huge fan of Milestone beers as a rule. I could tell this was a fruit beer from the aroma, although I got the wrong fruit. I liked it, I dare say more than I would if I'd known what I was drinking. The fruit was pretty decent rather than appearing to be just a little syrup added to a bland base beer.

    This was a worthwhile experiment, and one I would like to repeat again. I was pleased that I got two beers spot on pretty easily; raised doubts in the declared style of the two 'lagers', and enjoyed a Milestone beer more than I expected. Try drinking blind sometime yourself, you may be really surprised at the outcomes.


    haddonsman said...

    The experiment just goes to show that:

    - breweries that you're not generally keen on can surprise you

    - cask lager is a seemingly random descriptor

    - you really are biased towards Northants brews (that Caythorpe mild was sublime)

    - we should do this more often!

    Bailey said...

    Fascinating experiment. We're always talking about organising some blind taste testing, but never get round to it. Nervous, partly, that we won't be able to tell good beer from bad without the nice labels and fancy packaging to help us along...

    Another interesting test when you're struggling to identify a particular flavour in a beer is to literally close your eyes and imagine it's a different colour. It's amazing how like pale lagers some dark ones can taste when you're not focusing on the colour!

    maeib said...

    Bailey - You should definitely go for it. You have the added bonus of (usually) drinking as a pair, so next time at a festival buy alternate rounds and then only one of you knows what you're drinking.

    It really opens your eyes (to coin a phrase!)

    Haddonsman - We will do it again for sure. I am quite possibly biased towards Northants brews. Buy me one blind one day and we'll see.

    Kieran Haslett-Moore said...

    Try judging at competition, its sometimes very surprising as the medals are read out.