George (the gifter of the original Diary) organised a little tasting session at his house for a few friends of ours, with me playing the Informative Nerd. I’ll be the first to admit that I made them all run a bit of a marathon, but we hit most of the Big Styles, did some Interesting Comparisons, and had a whirlwind tour of the Long and Rambling History of Beer.
There’s a lot more variation in beer than there is in, say, wine or whisky, so a fairly zoomed-out overview can go a long way towards making people more ‘conversant’ in the basic styles, why they are what they are, how to figure out what they’re in for by looking at the bottle, and to help people discover what is (and isn’t) Their Thing.
I can’t help but notice, though, that I utterly failed to fulfil Jessie’s request / demand for a “super-awesome” Diary entry. I’m definitely more of an improvisational entertainer than an on-demand one — and that curry was seriously distracting. Especially after all that beer.
Verbatim: Beer 101 10/10/10 I have to write something super-awesome, says Jessie. No pressure. Tasting session & history lesson at George & Robyn’s, with Jessie + Simon + Pip. Great chance to get my nerd on, and evangelise to Robyn. We had: – Wigram Spruce Beer – Hoegaarden – Hofbräu Munchner Weisse – Köstritzer – Pilsner Urquell – Mussel Inn Golden Goose – Tuatara Porter – Invercargill Pitch Black – Emerson’s Bookbinder – Fuller’s IPA – Epic Pale Ale – Three Boys Golden Ale – Chimay Blue – Kriek Boon. And now, George + Pip have wrangled us a curry. Bloody marvellous.
Verbatim: Pilsner Urquell. 14/5/08, 330ml, $3. At work, trying to write a beer list for “Paris 2.0”. So this is an audition, really. Five stars in the bible. Good, flavourful pilsner. And it’s the original. So full marks. Too bitter for Chloe, but she can see it’s a good’un.
Afterthoughts, October 2010: Ah, “Paris 2.0”, what a great example of Told You So you are. I worked at a pretty-horrible pseudo-British pub for a while (while back at uni, initially) and when it was eventually sold the I’m-not-kidding genuinely-mad woman who bought it sought to resurrect a mid-nineties Wellington staple that had fallen from fashion and was eventually scuppered for insurance money (leading to the pseudo-British place taking its spot). I told them it was a bad idea, but did my best to give them a Notebook Full of Good Ideas Certain to be Ignored. Ignored they were, and the place lasted mere months before being scrapped again. But that did lead to me getting a better job…
(“The bible” refers to one of Australian writer Willie Simpson’s books.)
Half-way through a little quartet of random imported European lagers, probably reflecting a biggish shipment arriving at King & Godfree.
Verbatim: Krušovice Imperial Czech Prem. Lager. 330ml, 5%, $?, at home, 18/2/04. Gold, bubbles don’t hang around. G says smells like grapes. Light, but sharp. Agree with grapiness. Maybe that was in fashion in 1895, when it won gold.
Afterthoughts, October 2010: It does continue to baffle and annoy me that so many beer labels are still in the habit of lauding medals from decades, or even centuries past.