Craft Beer Tasting from A Wine Lovers Point of View
In October, Vino 301 is offering its first Wine, Beer & Spirits Wine Tour: A Beverage Adventure. Needless to say we are excited about the tour, but my craft beer knowledge is as vast as a puddle of water. We needed to do something about this and quick. An impromptu craft beer tasting and crab picking with friends. A craft beer tasting from a wine lovers point of view would be interesting. Most of us are winos with a couple beer drinkers.
There is nothing like beer and crabs… a Maryland tradition. The crabs would be the understudy during this event. However, the beer selection should not overwhelm the delicate, sweet crab meat. Headed to Total Wine to select the star of the evening.
OMG, never ever had I been on the beer side of the store. Mind blowing is the only way to describe it. Who knew so many beers existed. Every style of craft beer is available. With the help of a very patient sales associate, we eliminated Stout beer, Amber, Brown and Cream ales. The winners were Calvert Brewing Company’s Good Company Pale Ale and Red Shedman’s Farmer’s Daughter Blonde. Both are Maryland craft beers and, both are associated with Maryland vineyards.
The Tasting Event
Admittedly, my friends and I drink beer. We have beer at sporting events and when we play golf. Well, we have a little golf with our beer. I say this to say, we have never been particular about our selections. Our craft beer tasting event would be different. We would use our wine tasting skills… discerning clarity, nose, taste and finish. Could the same skills translate to craft beer tasting?
The event did not start out well. We did not have the right equipment… the glass. Just like wine tasting, the glass will make a difference in your tasting experience. We had red solo cups. Red solo cups are perfect for tailgating, but not for wine or beer tasting. We made a substitution with stemless wine glasses. We were closer to beer tulip shape glasses. Alright, we are ready now.
The Craft Beers
Good Company Pale Ale (Calvert Brewing Company, Linganore, MD) – The color is striking. It is almost amber, deeper in color than expected. You get citrus on the nose like orange zest. Immediately you taste grapefruit and melon on the first sip. There is a second note of fresh herbs. It is low in acid. You do not get the pucker effect equated with high acidic wines. Surprisingly, it was not very bitter considering the IBU number. The body was lush, but did not overly coat my mouth. It had a medium finish. Overall, the group agreed it was a very good beer. We would definitely have it again. (6.2% ALC/Vol 42 IBU)
Farmer’s Daughter Blonde (Red Shedman Farm Brewery Hop Yard, Mt. Airy, MD) – It is a beautiful cooper color. Funny, the novice tasters (including me) were expecting a straw yellow color because it is a Blonde. Did not get much on the nose. There are hints of lemon and musk. There are mild fruity flavors like orange and apricot that come through on the palate. Vanilla, and sweet notes of caramel become present on subsequent sips. A medium bitterness was experienced. It does not have the mouth sweeping drying affect you would experience with a high tannic wine, but the bitterness is present. It is mild body with a short finish. It is a good beer. The group enjoyed it. (5.1% ALC/Vol 17 IBU)
The Lessons Learned
It was a great experience. After the tasting and pickin’ a lot of crabs, I Googled “how to beer taste”. We should have included the carbonation and froth in our evaluation. For our first time craft beer tasting, we did not do too bad for wine lovers.