I have always enjoyed sampling new beers, picking up bottles based on unique names or labels, but had never put more thought in it beyond that. I tasted, said whether or not I enjoyed my selection or would drink it again, and then moved on to the next one, sometimes as quickly as I could. It was never a huge disappointment if I tried a beer I didn’t like because that was all part of the game, and it always gave me an excuse to have another.
My first, somewhat organized, attempt at beer sampling was via Calgary’s Bottlescrew Bill’s Pub ‘Around the World in 80 Beers,’ a challenge that set out a required drinking list from around the world, which I had one year to complete. The only problem with this is that I started it when I wasn’t living in Calgary. I was living in a little town in Northern Alberta and only occasionally made it to Calgary to tick beers off my passport. This meant that when I was in town, I had to make them count. I was about 40 beer short with only July and August to go before my allotted year ran out. Never one to quit, I did a lot of day drinking that summer. My girlfriend at the time, would go to work and knew to meet me at the pub when her day wrapped up. I got to meet all the bar staff and partake in everything off the menu, but I managed to finish, receiving my ‘Around the World in 80 Beers’ hoodie (this is the most expensive piece of clothing I own – possibly the most expensive ever made once you factor in the cost of the beer and the man hours invested). The pub provides people doing their ‘tour’ with a small passport where the traveler can write details on each brew, along with a few tasting notes, then it’s returned to the wait staff to be confirmed and stamped. Around 20 beer in I decided that there should be some way to rank all of these drinks so I started to assign grades on a 1 to 10 bottle cap scale. This wasn’t the most consistent system. I found that my criteria shifted after imbibing in a couple drinks, and the notes were so sparse that I couldn’t look back on them with any certainty. But it was fun. I am thinking about going back for the second tour (you get a burgundy hoodie when you do the second one – seems worth it), but I haven’t committed yet.
Then a couple weeks ago my staff pooled together and got me a rather robust selection of craft beer from all over the world. This was unexpected and unnecessary, but completely appreciated and confirms that I work with the best people you could ever wish to share a workplace with. But, as I looked at this collection of beer, I kept thinking back to my experience with Bottlescrew Bill’s, knowing I needed a better system to keep track of these new drinks. That’s how this blog was born. I am going to drink a beer, record my thoughts, and publish my tasting notes.
I am not going to review more than one beer per entry (to avoid my tendency to love everything I taste after a couple bottles) and I have a tasting score sheet. I am going to grade each brew on appearance (how a beer looks in a glass), aroma (the smell of the beer), taste (the flavours present in a beer), feel (how the beer feels when it’s tasted), and the overall impression (a gut reaction based on my tastes). I will be giving each category a grade out of 5.
So it’s time to get drinking,