Archive for the ‘Tasting skills’ Category

True to type???

It is clear that whats on the label is not much of a guide to whats in the bottle. Different brewers interpretations vary wildly and marketers tend to say whatever they like. Trying to meaningfully compare different beers of the same ‘type’ (eg IPAs or ‘Australian Ales’) is pointless and not particularly helpful. Therefore, I have decided to invent my own categorisation based on the beer best suited to a particular occasion. I find this more meaningful from a drinkers perspective.

The categories are listed to your right under “occasion” and are explained below. I have also listed my top pick so far for each.

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And a couple of others

A few I missed..

BeerMatt – Well written and thoughtful posts from Matt in Brisbane. Essential reading if you are located or heading to SE Qld and pretty good reading for the rest of us too.

Pete Brown’s Beer Blog – Unpretentious, informative and amusing blog from the UK. Pete has written a few books on the subject too (more on this once I have read them)


The theory and a little practice

I have done a lot of reading while tasting in the last few days and have discovered there are numerous websites dedicated to the enjoyment and production of good beer. They are nearly all entertaining and informative but trawling through them all to find which ones are of most value can use up a fair bit of drinking time. Here are a few I found particularly useful/entertaining.

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The theory

Taking a few days to work through my current beer supply and educate myself some more using Beer 101 by Beer Advocate.


Back to basics

Tonight’s tasting didn’t start as planned when I turned up at my preferred bottle-shop an hour after it closed! I had to settle for a fairly standard outlet that didn’t stock any Victorian micro-brews so I decided to take the opportunity to experiment with a basic taste test. Could I distinguish between a ‘premium’ lager and a ‘traditional’ pilsener and describe each?

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So much to learn

A couple of things I have discovered in the last few days:

1. Some (in fact many) craft brews are actually produced under licence in bigger breweries. Should this site concentrate on those that are brewed ‘in house’ or isn’t it important? I have yet to answer that question.

2. I think there are more Victorian breweries than listed on the state government list I mentioned back on 13th July. I will see if I can find the definitive list and make it available here. Perhaps breweries are appearing so often, no-one can keep up!


Getting the most from a beer

OK, I have now read many words about different types of beer and the brewing process but I still need help with tasting and describing different beers. Luckily there are some good resources available to assist.

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Baby steps

As a first step, I believe its worth researching the difference between the various types of beer available so conversations with friends, publicans and brewers aren’t sidetracked by misunderstandings and problems with terminology.¬† But how to get started?

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Whats this all about then?

For many years I have enjoyed beer! On some occasions, too much of it. In more recent years I started  to find that the mass produced varieties have unpleasant affects on my body. Many people advised me that this was due to the preservatives and other additives present.

This started my interest in the beers brewed by smaller boutique brewers also known as craft brewers or microbreweries. These are often free of preservatives and claim to be more ‘pure’. It was not long before I too was convinced that the products of the microbreweries was not only kinder to my body but also tasted better.

Despite years of beer drinking and a phase of wine appreciation, I am still a novice when it comes to the subtle differences in taste of the various beers available.

Therefore, I have decided to learn more about appreciating good beer, the brewing process and the microbreweries of Victoria, Australia. I’m keeping it local so I can maximise the breweries I visit and because I already know that some of the finest beers in Australia are brewed nearby.

On these pages I will document what I learn and will also review the beers I taste and the breweries I visit along the way.

Why not check back occasionally and see if my experiences can help you appreciate local beers in a new way. Any comments are welcome.