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Friday, June 1, 2007

The Blind Leading the Blind

I've got the June Buzz up on my main site. It's a piece about the values of blind tasting. Blind tasting is one of the best taste educational methods I know of, and one that requires no special equipment or expense; just an assistant and two rooms (or a divider). But there is no better way to discover how much or how little you know about a style of beer or a type of whiskey.

Take a, have a taste.


Anonymous said...

Yer preaching to the choir, mate. In my case, at least once a month I have the bartenders at Max's Taphouse (72 drafts, 400+ bottles) put something in front of me "blind" within reason in price. I believe my "batting average" is about .750 on first pick from the menu, .900 on second pick. But every once in a while they can really flummox me. One time, a fellow drinker and I faced off on "best of three" on one-ounce samples, and tied at one apiece for seven different beers until I hit one that made me scream, "This can only be one beer on the list: Moreland Old Speckled Hen!" I was right--and I hadn't had any in five years or more! I extol the virtues of such blind tasting as the "best way to educate yourself about beer tasting".

Ask me about the time I set a pitcher of Guinness blind in front of a bunch of beer writers and had them declare it "off," "barely trying," etc.

Lew Bryson said...


Unknown said...

Lou, I've always argued that blind tasting is what seperates the men from the boys, so to speak. The lack of blind tasting has always been one of my pet peeves when being reviewed by Beer Advocate/Rate Beer people. However, I will admit its pretty difficult to do a blind tasting in a brew pub without having any preconvied notions or bias. Aside from the sense of taste and smell and the habit of "drinking with your eyes" there are other factors that can easily affect the taste of a particular beer.....for instance, why does a beer taste different in the morning than at night....why does a beer taste better when you are in good company than in bad......when its cheaper instead of overpriced.....when you know you are the first of your friends to try it? As a famous wine writer whose name escapes me once replied, when asked whether he ever confused a Burgandy with a Bordeaux....."Of course Not! I mean, at least not since lunch." I guess my point is that a little bit of self-humor regarding our own tasting foibles would go a long way towards making us more objective beer lovers.

Lew Bryson said...

Well-said, Ron. A little bit of humor does a world of good to self-importance, however innocent. I try to take the starch out of myself as often as possible.

Thanks for stopping by.