|Brown Bag Bling Tasting flyer|
from BBS Facebook page
When I saw the info on the Better Beer Society's very first function and that it was a blind tasting featuring the components of beer, it was hard to resist. Add some recently added beer friends, and there's the makings of a great beer day.
Held a Stub and Herb's, I showed up a bit early and got a seat in the enclosed patio. As it turned out, the event was very well attended and spilled over into the entire first level of the bar. Brunch was first and a small adjustment made it vegetarian. From the BBS Facebook page, here's what I ate minus the salmon.
We received three numbered samples of beer with brunch, but didn't get any direction as to which beer matched which dish (at least that we heard). Experimentation put #7 (Flying Dog Woody Creek Witbier) with the pancakes, #12 (Franziskaner Dunkelweizen) with eggs benedict and #20 (Summit Oatmeal Stout) with the raspberry vinaigrette. All were well paired, though the meal was light. Because we ate early, it was a long time to the first beer but worth the wait.
Ten additional samples came for free with the initial $25 price, and having three in our group (thanks Heather and Scott!) was the perfect number to cover all 27 samples on the day without having to buy any extra. We traded off punches for beers, and each ended with one or two left on each card.
Samples came out one at a time--slightly chaotic but the job got done. Both BBS and S&H's staff worked hard to get beer to everyone. I had chosen the end of a table expressly for easy access to the servers, which worked out well. Each category introduction listed all of the styles in the flight, which made guessing much easier and the process of elimination was fun.
|Samples with punch card|
|Second place prize|
For a first event, the Better Beer Society did a great job. Drinking with two other teachers, we were reorganizing the recording sheet, naturally, to be easier to use. The brunch was stretched over a long period for the group, and we were very hungry later in the day. Had I been drinking all of the samples alone, it would've been far too light. Seats were crowded and uncomfortable, especially since we didn't leave until nearly 4 pm from an 11 am start. With those small caveats, the rest of the day was really enjoyable. Food was good, especially the the bread pudding. Beer was well served and never an off flavor in spite of the sample glasses. When the list was revealed (see below), I thought the choice of beers represented the range of each category extremely well. After years of sampling, I can almost tell what a beer is going to be like from the website, the bottle art or the first sniff. It was refreshing to taste beer like when I was new to the hobby, knowing little to nothing of what was in front of me and just concentrating on the taste and characteristics.
As the BBS guys added up the scores, we ordered a cheese and meat plate while I drank my only pint on the afternoon, intriguing number 27: Steel Toe Rainmaker. Overall, a great afternoon of learning for a full house of beer geeks and newbies. I look forward to the next Better Beer Society event that I can attend.