July 29, 2011

The Beer Project.

God has a brown voice, as soft and full as beer. – Anne Sexton

God spoke to me this evening. It wasn’t good. But, I’ll get to that in a minute.

Beer is the drink of the people, and I think that is one of the reasons I enjoy it so. It is, without pretense, made and consumed by people the world over. It has an aura of history and tradition about it. While I sit on my deck this Friday evening, enjoying a cool glass of ale, it is somehow comforting to think of the thread of continuity beer provides. The simple pleasure of sipping this old recipe beer connects me to all of those who have done so before me.

I have long been an advocate of living, not just existing, so focus intently on the small, good things life has to offer. Beer is one of those small, good things. Each week, I intend to not just drink, but experience, savour, and research a beer I’ve not tried before. Having a liquor store in my town that sells imported beers by the single serving bottle makes this an easy project.

I have basic knowledge of brewing processes and styles of beer, and I will fill in the gaps with research. ….I have just realized…my geek quotient has just become very apparent. Where others think “yay beer! *glug glug*”, I think “yay beer *samples, researches, does comparative analysis, and writes a report to post on the internet*” I won’t blame you if you have just navigated away from this page. :\

Anyway, back to my geek-out. In addition to personal experience, I have a number of resources to draw upon: The Encyclopedia of Beer, which has very complete descriptions of brewing processes and styles of beer; and, The Beer Lover’s Rating Guide, which has good descriptions of standards; and, of course, the internet. My palate is, and always has been, biased toward English beers, but I will try to rate each beer according to its style standard.

Now, back to this evening’s encounter with God’s voice. If God’s voice is like beer, then he must have been spewing venomous obscenities in a thin, high voice when this stuff was made. Because I am Canadian, I thought I would first give a nod to my home country and review a Canadian made beer – Blanche De Chambly, a Belgian style white beer, which should be a light straw colour, have a light mouthfeel, be slightly citrusy with a touch of spice, and be able to form a small head.

  • Appearance: You can’t imagine how disappointed I was when I poured into my glass what looked like cloudy apple juice into which some apple juice-hating prankster had placed a few Alka Seltzer. The beer had no body at all, so head formation was an impossibility, which meant that the beer simply fizzed. Yes, fizzed. It made Alka Seltzer fizzing noises while in the glass. There isn’t a standard for what sounds beer should make in the glass, so I think this is probably not a good thing.
  • Aroma: Not only did it look bad, it smelled winey. I suspect this might be because it had, at some point, been allowed to reach an unacceptably high temperature.  In addition to the wine odor, it smelled sour, and of very strong citrus. Belgian white beer is meant to be slightly acidic, but not this acidic and certainly not winey.
  • Flavour:  Being committed to my project, even though I should have know better, I tasted it. Yes, put it in my mouth. My mouth has now been violated by evilness previously not known to mankind. It tasted like very strong wine, was overwhelmingly sour, and was overtly citrus. Then, I waited a few minutes and tasted it again. So, I’m not the brightest girl in the world – in those few minutes it hadn’t been magically transformed by invisible fairies into something fit for human consumption.
  • Mouthfeel: Watery effervescence. Enough said.
  • Overall Impression: Ick.

Summary (each characteristic on a scale of 1-10, where one is very poor and 10 is excellent)

Appearance: 2 (It was the right straw colour, but that is all it had going for it)

Aroma: 1  (If I could give it a 0, I would)

Flavour: 1 (A beer should never be winey and sour)

Mouthfeel: 1 (While Belgian style white beers are supposed to be light, they should not effervesce in your mouth)

Overall impression: 1 (Awful.)

Total:   6/50

Canada: doing Belgian white beer wrong. I have tasted many, many beers, and this is the first I simply could not drink. I used it to water my trees. Save your money and buy a six pack of Blue Moon, which is infinitely better in comparison.

No comments: