Here we are with another weekend behind us and the next beer tasting session at work.
This time around, I arranged a hopped-up session so that we had some similarities and variations that would help my colleagues identify the definition of a pale ale or an IPA.
The beers were swiftly chosen and offer a traditional American pale ale, an American style IPA brewed here in the UK and an American style IPA loaded with fruits.
I also brought along a sample of Chinook hops so that they could see how the hops look, feel and smell – be it, in their processed form.
Here is the line-up!
Sierra Nevada – Pale Ale – 5.6%
The standard by which most brewery companies aspire for in producing a proper Pale Ale.
Expect some balance between the malts and the hops, but expect the hops to do most of the talking.
Expect big floral and spicy notes from the hops along with plenty of body courtesy of the malts.
This is literally a classic Pale that gives you a good idea of what to expect when trying Pale Ales going forward.
A firm favourite that can picked up in supermarkets and a number of bars these days!
Beavertown – Lupuloid – IPA – 6.7%
Onto Beavertown based over in London and the first of our IPAs for the day.
The malts are going to take a backseat so that the hops can dominate and show you what they’re made of.
This was their first run into producing IPA’s despite four years of brewing prior to that .
With the addition of dry hopping goodness (Basically, adding hops post fermentation and allowing them to sit for over a week, you get for more hop freshness.
Expect fresh, tropical and citrus notes along with a restrained bitterness.
Beavertown know how to produce awesome beers so this will be delish
Beavertown – Bloody ‘Ell – Blood Orange IPA – 7.2%
Finally, another one from Beavertown which showcases their IPA brewing ability.
With a cut back grain bill but highly hopped and kilos of blood orange zest and juice later in the brewing process.
Expect plenty of citrus, blood orange and much, much more.
A cheeky 7.2% ABV as well to really get the Friday party started
This hopped up and pale edition of the Beer Tasting at Work was a huge hit. Particularly as the weather was pretty good too.
We kicked things off with Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale just to give some context as to what the style represents in terms of balance between the hops and the malts.
Key identifiers included fruity, spicy and refreshing.
An interesting comment came from another fellow beer buddy in the group who explained that “it has a similar flavour to general pale ales but it’s the one you would choose over the mainstream beers”.
Another of my colleagues commented that they “Would happily drink this every day of their lives”.
Everyone was satisfied that they could drink this down with ease, earning itself a score of 8 out of 10
On the following Monday, one of the group explained that they went on a hunt at a local beer store for this and some other Pales for the weekend.
Next up was Beavertown’s Lupuloid which upped the ante on hops and flavour.
Described by my colleagues as being punchier than Sierra Nevada. Vibrant and Citrusy.
“Fucking Gorgeous” summed it by everyone who very quickly worked through their samples.
They were really blown away by the fact that this is the hops doing all of the work and there are no fruit additions or other additives.
With excitement on each of their faces, they were happy to offer and 8 out 10 for this one.
We ended on Beavertown’s Bloody ‘Ell which offered the best comments and reviews of the lot.
Some of the best comments included “Lupuloid on steroids” and “Deliciously multi-dimensional” as well as being a little sweeter.
This time around, they loved the idea of adding blood orange juice and zest to the mix which they were able to pick up quite easily.
One member of our time had been holding out for a week to taste Bloody ‘Ell.
She wasn’t disappointed by the hopped up and fruity nature of the IPA.
All in all, they were prepared to give a near perfect score of 9 out of 10.
For a bit of fun, I brought in a sample of hop pellets so that the team could see some images of a traditional hop plant, the cones and finally the processed pellet.
I asked them to crumble it in their hands and smell the aromas where they were surprised that such a plant can produce the range of aromas and bitterness found in the beers that they had just tasted.
A couple went as far as to take a bit of the pellet and were left with bitter oils in their mouth for 30 or so minutes after – That’ll teach them.
Our next session will introduce the team to the world of Belgian beers.
In particular, how yeast can impact on and change the body & flavour of a beer.