Last week I got invited to an office Cinco De Mayo party to lead a tasting. When I arrived they were already drinking Coronas and margaritas and there were several large tables with chips and guac spreads from chipotle. Not a bad excuse to stay late in the office! Although I thought about bringing some of the new American Mexican-style lagers I opted for a wide array of ales instead and gave everyone a chance to try a few different things, many of which they had never tried before.
Sour Bikini: Of course my opening beer was a sour at this tasting and it was a huge hit. Not loved by all but something that most of the people in the room were able to wrap their heads around. One person commented that at first he wanted to spit it out but after a few sips he could definitely, "dig it." This beer tastes mostly of citrus, leaning towards grapefuit, it's dry and refreshing and comes in at only 3% abv which is the perfect beer for summertime drinking.
Ommegang Witte: This is a classic interpretation of a Belgian style wit and this particular version gets some additional spice from the yeast strain used by Ommegang. This was my surefire crowd pleaser beer of the evening but it's still complex enough that I find myself reaching for one from time to time on my own. There are distinct flavors of clove on the back end of this beer and you do get some sweetness from the orange but not much. I'm glad I brought this one to show people what are Wit should taste like.
Sorachi Ace: This is one of my favorite beers and I don't think there was a single person in the room who didn't love this beer as well. The sorachi ace hops yield bright lemon flavors and the crisp yeasty esters make for a great beer. This beer is complex enough to keep people like me coming back but approachable enough that you can share it with the most staunch macro-lager drinkers and they'll enjoy it as well.
Satan for a Weekend: This triple IPA was extremely fresh and it was bottled by Barrier Brewing out of Ocean Side New York. It's a bigger beer than I prefer for tastings like this but I wanted to have something that would stand out and I also wanted something local. It definitely got a mixed review from the group and even I wasn't totally sold on it. It was bright and citrusy with lots of bitter grapefruit notes but even a novice could tell that this beer was dangerously high on the ABV levels. If consumed very fresh this is definitely a good beer but something that needs to be consumed when it's very fresh.
BCBS: This was a mistake on my part, I was trying to impress people by bringing a beer Nerd's dream beer to a tasting buy barely a handful of the people in the room gave it moderate ratings and the rest outright hated it. I brought four bottles, only opened two and one of those was half full at the end of the tasting. In my opinion this beer was drinking wonderfully, lots of chocolate, coffee and vanilla notes smooth over the big, boozy malt backbone of this beer. You win some and you lose some.
All in this tasting was a lot of fun, people were definitely bigger fans of the beers on the lighter end of this spectrum but I was happy to expose them to some sour beers and also to some of the boozy monsters even though they didn't go over so well.