This was supposed to be posted live at Saturday’s live beer blogging event at the European Beer Bloggers Conference, but I was too busy grilling the brewers, talking to people and enjoying myself to do it. So I have gone for a stream of consciousness approach, basically giving my scribbled pen & paper notes as written.This was a speed-dating approach, with 10 tables of bloggers being treated to 10 different beers in 5 minute tastings, with the brewers present to give some back story and answer questions. It was incredibly good fun, and also a good showcase for the differences in approach of brewery PR (some were professional and methodical, some were relaxed and unprepared) but also the differences between drinkers. Many drinkers poured away the beers after a few sips, regardless of the quality, whereas some finished them all. A few people had clearly made up their mind about beers before they were tasted; many more were inquisitive, open and honest which made for a highly social activity. Here are my thoughts as they occurred.
Innis & Gunn SPA 7% - Good looking bloke presenting, good looking beer. We quiz him about the clear glass bottle, but we are not mean. That is pretty easy because the beer is not terrible – smells like vanilla ice cream and doughnuts. It tastes of toffee, toast, and Danish pastry, with a touch of smoke and a touch of bitterness. Not for me but some may like it a lot.
Leeds Brewery Hellfire 5.2% - the bloke is not quite as good looking as the last one. Pale straw colour, not much aroma. Crisp, light, fresh and very decent. Drinks almost like a lager, the guy says its good straight out of the bottle – I agree.
Otley Oxymoron 5.5% - they give us snazzy cards and beermats. This is from a keg and looks like coca cola. Black IPA. Smells like blackjacks and fruit salad sweets. It is sweet to start with a touch of liquorice and spearmint. It finishes dry with burnt toast and citrus flavour. Interesting.
Brains Dark 4.1% - Welsh girls! Thin head, very black. The nose is butter and caramel, but the taste is better, smooth, chocolate, liquorice, and a savoury, herbal note. Decent.
Marble Earl Grey IPA 6.8% - unlabelled bottle, exciting. It is a cloudy amber colour, and smells of orange, lemon, strawberry and vaguely like tea. It is drying on the palate, herbal, sweet lemon and bitter orange pith. Bitter form the tea and the hops. Brilliant, my favourite of the session.
Roosters Baby Faced Assassin 6.1% - this is sweet and fruity, with apricot and yoghurt in the aroma. Needs to be colder and have more condition, and it is a bit too restrained and shy. Still delicious though, full of fruit and gentle bitterness.
Great Heck Stormin Norman 6.5% - this is a bit ‘whatever’. Decent enough, the flavour of a session pale but too strong in alcohol. Pleasant and nicely bitter but unremarkable.
Slaters Ales Top Totty 4% - ooh, what an offensive name! Come on, there are more offensive things on maps of France. The beer is OK, extremely well-conditioned and sparkly. Not much in the aroma or the flavour, but crisp, clean and refreshing. I would drink it again.
Camden USA Hells 4.6% - Cool bottles, cool beer. Easy drinking with a gentle pithy, citrus flavour and refreshing finish. One of the few I have had before, and I have had it better, but still good.
Adnams Ghost Ship 4.5% - she has an iPad! This is clean, crisp and decent. It is slightly metallic and not bitter enough but is well conditioned and easy to drink.