Brewtopia Events
Blind Beer Tasting

(LtoR clockwise):  Thel Melton, John Gayer, Johnnie Sutherland, 
Lari Cowgill, Owen Ogletree, and Dean Graves.
Owen Ogletree (director of Brewtopia Events) gathered together some of his devoted beer loving friends in March of 2002 at Athens' Wild Wing Cafe to sample and comment on several examples of bottled English Ales.  This beer sampling was done as a blind tasting where no one was aware of the brands that were being served.  Beers were informally commented upon and ranked according to American Homebrewers Association (AHA) style guidelines.  First, second, third places, and honorable mention were awarded to the beers we felt represented their individual styles in extraordinary fashion.  Drop Owen an email to share your comments and opinions.

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Commercial Beers -- Blind Tasting Comments...

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Wild Wing Cafe has one of the best beer selections in Athens, GA.  We gathered in the upstairs room to evaluate our fine ales from the UK.

Bluebird Bitter
Special or Best Bitter
Coniston Brewing Co., Brakspear, Henley-on-Thames, UK
Aroma: Malt and hops with a wonderful balance -- nice.
Appearance: Dark gold with good, light carbonation and head retention.
Flavor: Nice balance of malt and hops.  There is hop aroma, flavor, and bitterness.  Good job!  This is a marvelous ale.

Tanner's Jack
Special or Best Bitter
Morland Brewing, Suffolk, UK
Aroma: Light aroma with a slight fruitiness.
Appearance: Dark copper to light brown in color.  Perfect head.
Flavor: Nice bitterness, good presence of crystal malt, good balance of malt and hops.  Good mouthfeel for style.

Bass Pale Ale
Strong Bitter/English Pale Ale
Bass Brewers Ltd., Burton-on-Trent, UK
Aroma: Fruity and mineral-like.
Appearance: Clear, dark copper -- glows when held to light.
Flavor: Fruity, caramel, malt, mouthfeel is medium/light, medium bitterness, a nice ale -- very drinkable and unflawed.  This is a good session beer (many pints can be enjoyed over conversation).

Workie Ticket
Strong Bitter/English Pale Ale
Mordue Brewery, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK
Aroma: Malt, raisin, plum.
Appearance: Amber/reddish glow -- quite pretty.
Flavor: This beer has a bit of age.  There are complex malt notes with good medium body and a pleasant mouthfeel.  This is a rich ale with some personality.

Boddington's Pub Ale - pub draft can
Ordinary Bitter
Strangeways Brewery, Manchester, UK
Aroma: Light malt aroma with mineral hints.  Some fruitiness.
Appearance: Light gold with creamy carbonation.
Flavor: Bitterness is low.  No hints of crystal malts.  Light malt and light hops.  Very smooth, creamy mouthfeel.

Ruddles Country
Special or Best Bitter
Ruddles Brewing, Suffolk, UK
Aroma: Light hops/fruity.
Appearance: Dark copper with nice, light head (good for style).
Flavor: An interesting beer with a medium bitterness.  There is some astringency here.

Young's Special
Special or Best Bitter
Ram Brewery, Wandsworth, UK
Aroma: Fruity esters with a nice, light hop component.
Appearance: Copper in color with light, soft carbonation.
Flavor: Fruity esters, good bitterness for style, mild flavors of malt and hops.  This is a very drinkable ale.

Samuel Smith's Organically Produced Ale
Strong Bitter/English Pale Ale
Samuel Smith's Brewery, Tadcaster, UK
Aroma: Slightly fruity with good malt and hops.
Appearance: Light straw -- light end of scale for this style.
Flavor: High bitterness, dry, fruity.  Tastes like the bitterness of an American Pale Ale.

Vintage Henley
Strong Bitter/English Pale Ale
W.H. Brakspear and Sons, Henley on Thames, UK
Aroma: Hops and malt are there, but a hint of skunk is present.  This beer smells like it has been exposed to light.
Appearance: Dark copper with nice foam lace on the sides of the glass.
Flavor: Beer is a bit skunked.  Malt is good.  Hops are there in flavor, aroma, and bitterness.  There is good body and smooth mouthfeel.  This is a promising beer with personality, but lightstruck (skunky) hints detract.

Radgie Gadgie
Strong Bitter/English Pale Ale
Mordue Brewery, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK
Aroma: A bit oxidized with hints of phenols.  Malt and hops manage to come through, however.
Appearance: Dark gold -- nice glow.
Flavor: Honey, butter, phenols, malt.  Medium bitterness is here with a bit of metallic/paper notes from some oxidation.  This was probably a terrific beer when really fresh.

Bitter and Twisted
Special or Best Bitter
Harviestoun Brewery, Clackmannanshire, Scotland
Aroma: Citrusy -- hints of American hops?
Appearance: Light in color (gold) -- attractive.
Flavor: Hop flavor and bitterness predominate.  This beer is not balanced too well -- hops are the focus.  This is an interesting, very drinkable ale that is aromatic and a bit dry on the finish.

Ale Mary
Strong Bitter/English Pale Ale
RCH Brewery, Somerset, UK
Aroma: A bit like antiseptic.  Hints of vegetable are also there.
Appearance: Over-carbonation suggests some type of infection?
Flavor: Medium body with good malt.  Flavors of clove, phenols, band-aids, and banana.  This beer has flaws in its present condition.

Rudolph's Revenge Winter Ale
Strong Bitter/English Pale Ale
Cropton Brewery, Cropton, UK
Aroma: Hops smell a bit old.  This beer has malt aromas that are earthy.
Appearance: Brown with a beautiful darkness (dark end of style).
Flavor: There are slight phenols (spicy components) here.  Flavors of burnt caramel, bitterness, and apple are detected.  This is like an Old Ale is some ways.  Malt is rich..

Pride of Romsey IPA
India Pale Ale
Hampshire Brewery, Romsey, UK
Aroma: Hops are pungent and powerful.
Appearance: Beautiful, medium gold.
Flavor: Resin-like hops.  There are hop flavor and bitterness.  The hop character makes this beer a little astringent.  Needs smoother hops and a bit more malt for balance.  An interesting India Pale Ale with a powerful hop character.

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