Beer Tasting at Work – 04/05/2018

With the success that was our first Beer Tasting at Work session last weekend, everyone was pretty excited for another.

I wanted to offer another varied range of offerings, including a bit of a hefty wild card.
This would help to further gauge what my colleagues thought of some more unusual options.
With the last session and this one combined, I think I’ve got a pretty good idea as to plans for forthcoming sessions.

The bunce was swiftly collected up, a message was sent to Brewdog in Cardiff to see what they had on offer and these are the beers that we came up with.

Beer 1 – Fantasma – Gluten Free IPA

Magic Rock’s trademark, Gluten Free IPA.
Brewed in the traditional way along with the addition of Clarex which helps to reduce the gluten level to give even coeliac’s a beer they want to drink.
Expect a big tropical fruit hit with a restrained bitterness and perfectly accessible.
It will be cloudy, but that’s the hops in the beer shining through.

I’ve a feeling that this will be a great beer!

Beer 2 – Cherry Cola Vice (Engine Engine #9) – Cherry Cola Berliner Weisse

Taking things to another extreme to change my colleague’s perceptions on what beer should and can taste like.

Loaded with malts and not a single hop.
The sourness comes from a wild yeast called Lactobacillus and the special additions are what allow this beer to pack a cherry cola punch.
The ingredients include (Deep breath) pulverised Lemon, lime, orange, curacao orange peel, coriander, cinnamon, vanilla extract, ginger, nutmeg, kola nit, cardamom, Indonesian pepper, amaretto and sour morello cherries. – Phew

This Is more on the sour side than the sweet, so be prepared!

Beer 3 – AB:25 – Bourbon Barrel-Aged Barley Wine

Finally, I brought along a bit of a wildcard from my selection from Scottish brewing overlords, Brewdog.
Something way out there and delivering a powerful 13.3% ABV

A barley wine is essentially a more traditional ale style than can tend to have more fruity\sweet malt flavours.
This version is aged in bourbon barrels so expect more woody notes and bourbon tones to really float the boat out there

For obvious reasons, you will only need a small sampling of this one to know if you’ll love or it hate it.

One again, things were a total success though very mixed reviews on the unusual nature of the beers, which I expected in a way.

We started with Magic Rock’s Cherry Cola Vice which was described as “Different” and again “Thought Provoking”.
On the one side, some of my colleagues found it quite palatable describing it as being similar to a cherry Tango or cola cube sweets.
The flip side was the descriptor that it was like brushing your teeth with a minty paste and eating an orange or like tasting an unripe sour cherry.
Really mixed reviews but averaged out at a score of 6/10.
It tended to be those that have enjoyed sours before that accepted it over those that are new to these sorts of beers.

Next up was Magic Rock’s Fantasma, Gluten Free IPA which came in at a hefty 7/10 for obvious reasons.
One of the more unusual comments (Which was positive) was “Club Tropicana Drinks Are Free”.
It was described as being a little more bitter than Tiny Rebel’s Dutty but plenty sweet and enjoyable. An IPA that gets sweeter the more you drink it.
Fantasma was well received IPA and excellent for a gluten-free beer.
It’s great to see brewery companies producing gluten-free beers that actually taste great.

Finally was Brewdog’s AB:25 which really split opinions and was maybe too much too soon.
All sorts of weird and wonderful descriptors this time around.
Compared to the challenge of sword fighting, enough malts included to taste similar to Horlicks and similar to that of a coke & mixer.
The comment which really stood out here was “A Piss take, like something you would give your mates to down”.
Very warming, dry, rich and chewy texture with burnt caramel.

We didn’t score the final beer as it was difficult for my colleagues to compare it against anything else having never tasted a beer like it.

Our next session will be slightly different in that we will start to look similar styles and delving a bit deeper into how they are brewed and produced.

I might even start bringing in samples of hops and malts for everyone to try out too.

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