See, Sniff, Swirl, Sniff, Sip (http://blog.wineenthusiast.com/2009/06/04/wine-wisdoms-33-the-5-ss-of-wine-tasting/) – who hasn’t tried out these 5 S’s on a nice pinot or rioja? All the cool kids are holding their oversized wine glasses (perfect for swirling) up to the light, inhaling deeply, and then sucking down that tasty grape juice like the pros. The cool kids are definitely on to something here – sampling different wines and munching on assorted cheeses with some friends is a perfect way to spend an evening.
But, what if the wine is replaced with beer? I know what you’re thinking: preposterous, shocking, sacrilege! Seriously, it’s just beer; you drink it with peanuts and pretzels while watching sports and grunting. How can you see, sniff, and sip a glass of hops?
My girlfriends and I did just that this week at a ladies beer tasting down at the Village Pourhouse. I have to admit, I felt a little silly at first looking at the beer’s color, sniffing its aroma and then daintily sipping it. But, these beers were more than just the average-joe beers. They were all fruit beers, so there definitely were colors to be seen and aromas to sniff. Swirling is my favorite part of wine tasting, and unfortunately, there really wasn’t any swirling involved in tasting the beer. But I managed to enjoy myself without making a whirlpool with my beverage.
We sniffed and sipped our way through blueberry, raspberry, apricot, apple, and cherry beers, along with one pear cider. The beer was served in small glasses (the type of glasses shooters are served in), and after an initial small sip, I ended up taking a big swig to finish the rest because it generally was very tasty. I particularly liked the Blue Point Blueberry Ale, which was light and had just a subtle hint of blueberries, enough to tickle the taste buds but not to overwhelm the beer. I also enjoyed the two Lindemans lambic beers: framboise (raspberry) and pomme (apple). The fruit flavor in these beers was outstanding. They didn’t even taste like beer; they were almost juice-like. Finally, I was quite pleased with the Original Sin pear cider that we tasted; I usually sip on Woodchuck pear cider, but I thought Original Sin was tastier.
As for the actual tasting, I think there was a good effort to choose “girly,” fruity beers. But, I didn’t learn that much about each beer. Usually, wine tastings are oozing with information; at the beer tasting, the host told us a few lines of information about each beer and then left us to drink. Maybe there isn’t that much to say about beer. Also, I think the appetizers served (hummus and some kind of spinach dip) may have been too spicy to pair with fruit beers; it was difficult to taste the beer at first. But, the food was yummy, so I wasn’t complaining. And, the beer host was friendly and generous with second pours, so I’ll cheers to that.
Overall, this was a fun something new and a great night out with the girls!