Craft Beer 102: The United Kingdom

Mastermind Weekend 1/16

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I'm Tina

I’m the owner of Carrots ‘N’ Cake as well as a Certified Nutrition Coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner (FDN-P). I use macros and functional nutrition to help women find balance within their diets while achieving their body composition goals.

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Gordon’s is currently hosting a fun beer series called “Craft Beer 102: World Brewing Traditions” (a follow-up to their popular “Craft Beer 101” classes).

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.

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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?

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I ended up eating more pretzels than I drank beer!

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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.

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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?

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We tried 8 different beers tonight:

  • Goose Island Honkers
  • Sam Smith’s Nut Brown
  • Burton Empire Ale
  • Belhaven
  • Sam Smith’s Taddy Porter
  • Dragon Stout
  • Nogne O Andhrimnir (Mal suggests that you ask for this one by name! 😉 )
  • North Coast Old Rasputin

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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33 Comments

  1. Um… I realize that I already tweeted this to you, but as a landlocked Nebraskan, and seeing as how Maine is my very favorite place, I am SO looking forward to living vicariously through your blog pictures this weekend!!! Have a great time and post LOTS of pictures! 🙂 What part of Maine are you going to?

  2. I’ve never been a big fan of English beers either, but the Belgian sampler would be one I’d love to attend! Thanks for some cool info, I bet I’d like the stout best since I almost always like stouts best. Have a fun getaway!

  3. Yay for spontaneous holidays! And we can’t win ’em all in life – not all beers can be as tasty as every other beer (hmm, is that a philosophical conundrum?) Enjoy Maine!

  4. I love Sam Smith’s Nut Brown! In college I worked at a restaurant that had like 160 types of beer and we were encouraged to taste them so we could inform our customers. That was one of my favorites we sold. Yeah, that job didn’t suck. 😉

  5. Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown Ale is a favorite of my husbands. Enjoy Maine! We are also headed to Maine for the holiday/anniversary weekend

  6. I feel so lucky to live in New England and get to experience Craft Beer. VT has the highest concentration of craft breweries per capita in the US. So good and hard to drink regular beer after tasting a great craft beer.

  7. My husband and I really like Goose Island Honkers Ale. Who knew it was more like an English style? I like posts about beer 🙂

  8. I’m driving into Maine as I’m reading this! There’s a man dressed as a lobster greeting people at the tollbooth. He’s quite entertaining. Hope you get to see him do his welcome dance. Have a fun trip!

  9. Enjoy Maine – I’m headed there this summer to film some stuff for a documentary and I’m super excited!
    Pretzel chips – brilliant, brilliant invention. I wish I could still drink beer to round out the perfection that would equal the two together!

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