How NOT to Have a Beer Tasting Party

Written by Tom Becham for professorgoodales.net

On a recent Friday evening, I was at a friend’s house, guiding a group of guys through a beer tasting. I’d been invited by this friend as he is a beer-geek-in-the-making, and he’s been bitten by the bug of wanting to also convert his friends.

Many of the friends, (and there were about a dozen in attendance) while being inexperienced with craft beer, were scotch whiskey drinkers, and therefore I assumed they would have hardy palates and be used to complex flavors.
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Beer Profile: Stevens Point Pumpkin Ale

Profiled by Ken Carman for professorgoodales.net

This was odd. I presented it at a beer tasting last weekend and it was well loved by all, even me: very pumpkin pie-ish. The color just right: pie in a glass. Had another bottle a few days latter and it was actually a little annoying: All Spice over the top. Clue: second serving was almost warm, first chilled just right. I highly recommend the chilled, unless your fav thing to do is open a can of All Spice and lick it clean. Cinnamon not that present, nutmeg somewhat, Perle hops… why did they bother? Really: in some beers hops seem to be tossed in because some folks think its “not beer without hops,” despite the fact the craft, and the art, of brewing beer is a lot older than the use of hops in beer. Thank the Catholic Church for the weird idea that Jim Koch, I guarantee, knows is false: “Hops are to beer like grapes are to wine.” (Actually, not necessarily always true in wine, though mostly. Mead is really a honey wine, there’s rhubarb wine, dandelion, etc.)
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Which Pumpkin Beer Is Actually Worth Your Money?

Written by Victoria Johnson for The Billford and businessinsider.com

Pumpkin beer, like anchovies on pizza or shorts on men, can be a divisive topic: you either like it or you don’t. If you don’t, well, walk on by—nothing to see here. But if you are, like me, a devotee of the gourd-based brewing arts, you are well aware that not all pumpkin beers are created equal. Which one is the best? More to the point, which one is the best for you?

There are so many pumpkin beers, and so little time in which to drink them. Let me make your autumn easier—for the past two years, I’ve held a pumpkin beer tasting, pitting competitors head to head in a bracket-style throwdown with the goal of finding the tastiest pumpkin beers out there. The Spiced Sixteen.

Each of the offerings was seeded* by a random draw and sipped out of tiny cups by a panel of twelve pumpkin-beer aficionados, who cast votes to decide which made it to the next round.** I’m going to spoil this year’s bracket for you now: DC Brau/Epic*** Fermentation without Representation came out on top. Which is, for the purposes of this article, a disappointment because it was a limited release offering from last year brought by a friend who collects and ages beer. If you can find it: cool! Enjoy! But otherwise: Consider what you want in a pumpkin beer. Light? Sweet? Pumpkin-y? Pie-y? Dark? There’s something for everyone out there, and I’m here to help you find it.