We've been experimenting with various formats for tasting beers in the studio lately — trying to find a way that avoids the trappings of ratings, reviews, and evaluation, and focus more on things like intent, progression, and continuity. In the latest format — what we've been calling the "portfolio tasting" — we've set up a spectrum of beers from a particular brewer, and started working down the line from simple to complex to see if we can discern these more interesting notions.
That's all sounds a bit heady perhaps. It's not meant to be.
What we're getting is a subtle, but important shift in the conversation, especially between a mix of industry professionals and friendly outsiders we invite to join us. We're able to relate beers from one to another. We're seeing patterns in the way the brewer is bittering, building a grain bill, and approaching aromatics across a variety of styles. And those ah-has are instigating appreciation and curiosity rather than hot takes and simple preferences. In short, we're giving the beers some authority over themselves.
And that invites us to ponder, for example, what an American style Double IPA using Citra and Mosaic and Vermont Ale Yeast means in Manchester, UK.
Interesting stuff. At least to us. You'll be seeing the first two tastings shared soon here on the site.