As the newest member of the Story PR team, I decided it would be a good idea to brush up on my beer tasting skills, so popped down to a Best Beer Tasting class at the Wine and Spirit Education Trust.
The evening is simple. A brief discussion of the beer making process is followed by tasting 12 beers to test out your newly acquired knowledge. Then everyone chats and shouts out what flavours they can find – whether it is elderflower or shoe polish.
The beers on offer provide a full range of what is available in the ale world today; starting from the lightest blonde all the way to the blackest stout.
The full list is below, but here are a couple of my most memorable beers. I’d recommend trying them all – but unless you’re a hardened ale drinker, you may try some of them only once!
Jever Pilsner – The most lager like ale of the evening. Perfect from a thigh-sized stein in the middle of a central European plaza. Less popular amongst the nutty brown ale enthusiasts in the room.
Bear Republic Hot Rod Rye – America likes it’s beers hoppy, and this is amongst the hoppiest. Hot Rod is a hefty noseful of California, while using the sometimes temperamental rye in the brewing process.
Sam Smith’s Nut Brown Ale – A gateway beer for those not used to the darker, maltier ales. The general consensus was that this would be great after dinner with cheese – even better than wine, although there may have been some bias in the room.
Fuller’s Vintage 2006 – Fuller’s finest ale kept in barrels dotted around the corridors of the London brewery. Although hardly drinkable by the pint, the oak aged ale is well worth a try as it gets rarer every year.
Harviestoun Ola Dubh 18 – The most potent of the evening. This bitter beer is left to age in old barrels, which have held whisky for a variety of years – in this case, 18. The whisky pours out of the wood over time to create an unusual and distinct taste. With it’s rich, strong and smokey flavour, this one really sorted the experts from the novices in the Testing Room.
The other beers tasted
Westerham Vicroy IPA
Odell St. Lupulin
Lefebvre Blanche de Bruxelles
Schneider Weisse Original
Kernel Export India Porter
All available at the Utobeer stall at Borough Market (apart from Fuller’s Vintage)