Love it or hate it. I couldnt give a damn
Sink the Bismarck!
The evening quickly became a twisted plan in my head taking on a new darker and more boozy side everytime I thought about it (which was a lot). Eventually I had the troops rounded and a beer list printed. 7 men,5 women, enough food to sink a ship (no pun intended) and some of the craziest beers made in the UK today. It made for an intersting night as I knew that most people werent beer geeks like me and would be baffeld by talk of IBU and Original Gravity, so I kept it as beer novice friendly as possible. Only the gents wanted to do the actual beer tasting at first but this quickly changed.
We started with a bottle of Alpha Dog which fortunately for me our bottling machine decided would never reach Norway because it was a bit underfilled. I gave everyone a sample in the bottom of the posh tasting glasses I bought and I was amazed at how quickly everyone became an expert. Holding the glass up to the sun that was very kindly beating down on us, swirling it about a bit and even smelling before tasting. I was proud, very proud. The troops did not dissapoint, the closest comment that I remember nodding and agreeing with was 'very much like that 5am Saint but more reserved and more nutty'. I beamed like a new father......maybe this beer convertion is easier than I think.
We raced through my collection of rare BrewDogs that I have been collecting over the last year or so. TM:10 was up next. This divided opinion more as some people werent so keen on the carbonation but we all agreed that it was very nice if not a little too polite. After moving our tasting table back into the sun which had moved around the shadow of the house I opened the first of the real rare ones. This time it involved two samples, some Hardcore IPA and some of the madness that is Prototype 27. We tasted the Hardcore first so we could see what the original beer is like and then we tasted the P27. 'Its quite sweet and a little bit medicinal' said David 'I dont really taste the whisky' said Peter. It should be pointed out at this stage that Peter had decided in between the TM:10 and now to run home a fetch the biggest Montecristo cigar I have ever seen (not the best idea when you are tasting beer I told him).
We all agreed that as a result of the enormous cigar Peter was smoking we were going to listen and see if he could detect any flavours from the rest of the beers on offer. After opening AB:01 and AB:02 it became apparent that we had found a champion (or so we thought) in AB:01. It was very rounded and has aged amazingly since its been bottled. AB:02 is a little big for me right now give it another 10 months to let the booziness mellow a little and it will be spectacular. I think we all agreed at this point that the very pretty AB:01 was winning so far.
Next up was the reason why everyone was invited. Sink the Bismarck. We watched the video to get everyone in the mood (you know, that controversial one with the two brewers, one dog and a ship). This was a beer I knew was going to divide opinion and it did to a certain degree but much less than I thought. Remember that most of the people tasting this are not beer geeks or even wine buffs but they do know when they taste something they like (they just dont write a blog about it). I filmed the tasting and after I edit it down it will be posted soon. I dont want to give too much away but its fair to say that it went down well and the women couldnt hold back any longer and got fired in too.
We all had a great night tasting some beer that I will probably never get my hands on again (mainly because a lot of it was a once off brew). It was great to see non beer drinkers getting really fired up about the taste and characters of these beers.
I also thank David Bald for bringing Dogfish Head 90 minute IPA, Victory Golden Monkey and others too which we enjoyed after the tasting died down a bit. Also thanks to my parents for allowing me to invade the house with almost 20 people although it was mostly there friends as well as my own!
Soon on the blog I will be reviewing Thornbridge Saint Petersburg and Marble Lagondola IPA. Stay tuned!