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The good stuff: Brews & Spirits’ first blind tasting

The good stuff: Brews & Spirits’ first blind tasting

Sponsored by Brews&Spirits and curated by Tulleeho Wine and Spirits Academy, the session in Bengaluru was held in October, at The Bootlegger, a popular watering hole in Indiranagar

Tasting beer can be invigorating. Blind tasting, on the other hand, is an exercise that has an element of seriousness mixed with loads of fun! The tasters’ opinions and judgements are not clouded by earlier impressions of brands that they often swig.

Labels, marketing, advertising, packaging and price all influence what we think about the products we see, and that holds just as true for beer. Positive feedback from a friend, for instance, could also affect us and even block the perceptions of a professional beer taster.

Sometimes, the bandwagon effect could also be the culprit, where people do something primarily because other people are doing it, regardless of their own beliefs, which they may ignore or override.

Given the circumstances blind tasting can be a great leveller. When such an exercise in undertaken all other external biases and influences are removed and tasting becomes truly objective and impartial and the beer judged purely on its merit.

Expert tips

The tasting was done by an eclectic mix of individuals comprising beer professionals and enthusiasts that included John John Eapen (blogger at Tales of Froth), Umang Nair (brewer), Deena Pinto (lifestyle blogger), Nate Ross (Australian brewer), Anasua Saha (beer lover), Jagmohan Rana (bar manager  at The Bootlegger) and  Madhu Rajigani (beverage trainer at Tulleeho).

According to beer evangelist John Eapen, there can be much variation among beers that look exactly the same, and are visually indistinguishable. It leaves all guesswork to just smell and taste. He also cautioned that the enemies of beer – heat, light and oxygen – can sometimes cause it to taste oxidised or dull, primarily because of poor transit storage conditions.

The final discussion was very animated, carried out amidst banter and interspersed with very enlightening points of view and observations. The goal of the exercise was to create a fun and interesting way to taste and experience the many pleasures and varieties of beer.

The results: Simba (578/ 1120), Bira White (551/ 1120), White Owl (545.50/ 1120), Hopper (519.5/ 1120) and Hoegaarden (517/ 1120).

This would be the beginning of larger and more frequent sessions with a greater mix of varieties and participants. Let’s raise our mugs to that!