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March 2014: Beer

For some reason, monthly meetings involving alcohol* always seem to attract a crowd, and our March meeting was no exception.

Almost 60 ladies – and a handful of brave men! – gathered to find out more about the craft beer revolution from local specialists Ake & Humphris. We learned about the origins of the craft beer trend and its popularity in different parts of the world, as well as the way the beers are brewed.

Of course, it’s important to learn by doing, so there were eight beers for all of us to try. Sampling them in pairs, we first tasted and made our own notes before finding out what the experts, Des Tinline and Barry Leal, thought of each and what we ought to have been tasting. Often, we found that our notes did link in with what they said afterwards, such as tasting fruity or light. However, that wasn’t always the case – putting “blue cheese” down as one of the things you could taste in the beer is a sure-fire way to single yourself out as an amateur!

The evening was a great mix of learning and tasting, giving us a chance to try everything ourselves before we found out more of the facts behind the beers. Des and Barry certainly know their stuff and it was also a reminder of the experts we have in our community – in this case, just a few hundred metres away from our meeting venue, at the bottom of St George’s Road. They rounded off the evening by asking everyone to vote for their favourite beer of the eight we had tasted. Although there was a clear winner, there was a good spread of votes across most of the options and, as we found out, there’s no right or wrong answer – it all comes down to taste.

*We did a wine tasting session a couple of years ago. I was getting a lift home so I managed to sample all of them thoroughly. I then lost all my notes and forgot most of the second half of the wines on offer. The resulting blog post was so useless that I decided it might be better to exercise some restraint for future drinks-based meetings.

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