Craft Beer 102 is a four-part series that focuses on unique brewing traditions of the world’s finest brewing cultures (Germany, United Kingdom, Belgium, and United States). Each class covers the history, methods of production, brewing philosophy, and allows participants to sample 7-8 beers from the selected brewing tradition.
This week’s class featured the United Kingdom:
The beer community today owes its global roots to the UK and the birth of “porter” beer. The vast reach of the British Empire challenged brewers to economically produce large batches of beer that could then be shipped around the globe, as opposed to simply dropping the beer off at local pub for community consumption. The “factory” brewery was born, and with it many advances that brewers continue to use in order to serve ever-larger amounts of customers.
So, it turns out that I don’t really like this type of beer. 😕 We sampled a number of classic English- and Scottish-style ales, but I just wasn’t a fan. Maybe my liver I wasn’t in the mood to drink?
I ended up eating more pretzels than I drank beer!
The class’s instructor was incredibly knowledgeable about the beers. There wasn’t a question he couldn’t answer without a detailed reply. It was actually quite impressive! And, I loved that he said categorizing beers from the UK is like “herding cats.” 😆 Basically, it’s really tough because many of them don’t fit nicely into a box, like an IPA or India Pale Ale.
We learned that the BJCP Color Guide is designed to allow people (brewers, judges, etc.) to quickly estimate the color of a beer to help categorize it. So, an Imperial Stout, for instance, would likely fall into the 40-44 range. Kinda cool, right?
We tried 8 different beers tonight:
- Goose Island Honkers
- Sam Smith’s Nut Brown
- Burton Empire Ale
- Sam Smith’s Taddy Porter
- Dragon Stout
- Nogne O Andhrimnir (Mal suggests that you ask for this one by name! 😉 )
- North Coast Old Rasputin
Surprisingly, a number of the beers that we sampled were not from the United Kingdom, but instead, were chosen as a good example of that specific style of beer. For instance, the Goose Island Honkers is brewed in Chicago, but is very similar to a classic English Pale Ale. Plus, it didn’t travel across the ocean and likely stayed more fresh.
Additionally, the Dragon Stout was from Jamaica, but exemplified an English Stout. It was also my favorite beer of the evening. It was malty, smooth, and sweet. It reminded me a lot of my beloved Bourbon County.
Even though I didn’t love tonight’s selection of beers, I still had the opportunity to spend some time with one of my favorite bloggers: Bridget! 😀 She and her husband attended the tasting, too. I also got to meet a CNC blog reader, who was at the event. Hi, Kristen!
Mal and I decided to go to Maine for the holiday weekend, so now I need to get my act together. I feel like I have so much to do before we leave!
Good night, bloggies!