Blind Beer Tasting

Myself and two friends (Clive and Jason, also locals at The Thatchers) are members of The Meantime College Beer Club. We get sent two 750ml bottles of Meantime Breweries latest experimental or rare beers each month. We use the arrival of each beer as an excuse to host a dinner party and share our favourite beers as well as the monthly Meantime offering. This month it was Jason and Jayne’s turn. As we walked in the front door we were greeted with the lovely smell of fresh curry spices and handed a glass of Troubadour Magma, a stunning Belgian IPA. A rich hazy copper colour with a thick white head, plenty of spice and aromatic hops on the nose. It was terrifically smooth with a very fine carbonation, a malt sweetness and a big bitter hop finish. This really was a fantastic beer which we felt was sure to set the tone for the evening…

Next up, whilst sat in the garden trying to pretend it was summer, Jason had a blind beer tasting lined up for us. Asked to score out of 5, Clive and myself gave the first beer a disappointing 1, a lager with strong DMS flavours, an undesirable characteristic in any beer, flavours of cooked cabbage and sweetcorn. We felt guilty for slating the first beer secretly hoping it was a red herring. Next up another lager (well I guess we were having curry…), reminiscent of a continental stubby, crisper and more bitter and certainly better than the first, we offered an improved score of 2. Worried we were insulting Jason we agreed to like the third offering whatever the taste. It was deeper in colour, a light brown, with no head, and little carbonation, it wasn’t looking good. In fact this was the worst so far, thin and watery with an unpleasant aftertaste. Whilst I’m too young to remember, Clive announced it reminded him of the infamous Watney’s Red Barrel, it was impossible to hide our distaste, another low scoring 1, although in hindsight I think a zero is more applicable for this despicable offering. Still worried we had overstepped the mark and insulted our host we were pleased when a wry smile appeared on Jason’s face and he proudly announced Aldi lager at 54p a can the winner of our blind tasting. In second place Tesco lager at 51p a can and trailing in third Sainsbury’s A Little Less Bitter at 25p a can (and only 2.1% ABV)!

Thankfully the food was up next, a monumental spread of starters Poppadums, Salmon Fishcakes, Corn Patties, Lamb Shish Kebabs, with delishious dips & chutneys, then a Chicken Biryani followed by Homemade Kulfi Ice Cream with a delicious Sauternes. A cracking evening, the best curry I have eaten in a long while, and the Meantime beer? That’s another blog…

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