- Josh Jun 9, 2013 01:46 PM
I'm going to be hosting a small tasting at work and will have the following styles:
Sour blonde with fruit
Hoppy extra pale ale
Each will be paired with a small bite of food, plus there will be other palate cleansers available. I'm considering using the above tasting order because I can't think of where else to put the sour. The barleywine is especially massive and I think the sour would be weird at the end. My hope is by having it at the beginning the subsequent lighter ales will help reset people's palates.
I know some people that do tastings in order of bitterness. I am not sure if that would work for you, but you might consider it.
I agree that the barleywine would go last and the porter second to last. Personally, I would go with the Belgian pale first, the sour second, then the hoppy extra pale.
Now just wait for the whole world to come and tell me I am wrong.
By the way, I would go for an impressive cheese display with your tasting.
I'm pretty ignorant when it comes to things tasting, but I'd almost consider going with the sour after the Belgian pale and before the porter - sort of a palate cleanser if you will.
Is it possible that the Belgian pale might be somewhat overwhelmed by the hops in the extra pale ale, or do you want to highlight the contrast there?
Yeah, I left that out because they're pretty regional in terms of distribution (most of them, anyway).
The beers are:
Russian River Damnation (Belgian pale)
Almanac Farmers Reserve #3 (sour)
Knee-Deep Citra Extra Pale
Speakeasy Payback Porter
Moylan's Barleywine aged in Heaven Hill bourbon barrels
Check my notes on the Almanac thread about the Reserve #3. It's quite fresh strawberry-ish IMO. I think it would go great with dry cheeses (I was going to say Manchego, but it's probably because I'm eating a piece now).
Edited to add: that's a great lineup! I wish I was going to be at that tasting.
I generally like your approach with a few optional arrangements:
1: Of the Knee Deep and the RR Damnation, whichever is "lighter" on your palate should be second, the other third.
2: Re: Porter. Even great porters can be acquired tastes, and so-so porters can just be off-putting. I'd pour this in smallish glasses with extra fill available for those who like it. Reasoning here is that you don't want the porter to de-rail your tasting. I know, I should speak kindly about all beer styles but porter is an edgy style that alot of brewmasters don't do well... and so-so examples can hit your palate like you're standing next to a hot tar laying machine on the highway. That's an abrupt switch from Belgian pale to porter... ideally I'd like to see a mellow stout in between the pale and the porter b/c the porter would not be such a deviation in taste following a stout.
Otherwise I can't wait, when's the tasting? :)
Damnation is definitely "lighter" on the palate. I think it's a nice lead, especially if the audience may not be accustomed to the diversity of beer styles (don't know if they are or not).
WRT the porter, I can't think of anything about Payback Porter that seems edgy to me. (Actually, aside from historical usages of the terms, I'm unsure what the distinction between porters and stouts is in general, but that's another topic.)
Anyway, I think the Damnation, #3, Citra, Payback, Barleywine order sounds good, although I haven't had Moylan's Barleywine (Old Blarney?).
Tasting went quite well. If you can make it to Healthy Spirits to pick up one of those barleywines I'd say it's worth your while.
I didn't realize this when I selected it, but it picked up some brett from the barrels. At room temp it made for a pretty fascinating flavor profile. Brett dryness off the bat, followed by a nice malty finish. Very interesting and unlike anything else I've tried.
Surprisingly the Almanac #3 was the big hit of the evening. Didn't expect so many newbies to take to a sour like that.