Brewtopia Events LLC

Blind Tasting:
Ales and Lagers

Dustin Watts on the left is with Terrapin Beer Company in Athens.
Satchin Patel on the right is with Five Points Bottle Shop in Athens.

Johnnie Sutherland and Kerri Allen

Owen Ogletree (director of Brewtopia Events LLC) gathered together fellow beer lovers Dustin Watts, Satchin Patel, Johnnie Sutherland, and Kerri Allen on May 11, 2005 at Copper Creek Brewing Company in Athens, GA to sample and comment on several mixed styles of ales and lagers from commercial and craft breweries from around the world.  This sampling was done as a "best of show" blind tasting where no one was aware of the brands that were being served.  Products were informally commented upon and ranked according to Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) style guidelines.  First, second, third places, and honorable mentions were awarded to the products we felt represented their individual styles in extraordinary fashion.  Drop Owen an email to share your comments and opinions.
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More Blind Beer

Beer Guides to Cities
Around the World



DAB Dortmunder
Dortmunder Actien-Brauerei - Dortmund, Germany
Dortmunder Export
Aroma: Floral hops with a light malt aroma that is very pleasing.
Appearance: Light to medium gold in color with white foam.  Very clear.
Flavor: Very good balance of malt and hops.  The water seems quite hard and mineral-like.  There is a slight hoppy, bitter finish that is pleasant.  An elegant, well balanced and delicious beer.

Sierra Nevada Porter
Sierra Nevada Brewing Company - Chico, CA
Robust Porter
Aroma: Coffee and dark chocolate with herbal notes.
Appearance: Very black with a hint of ruby red that shows through.  Soft, moderate carbonation.
Flavor: Coffee, cocoa, dry flavors.  There is a dark grain bite that is tasty and a rich, medium body.  This is a well balanced ale that fits the style extremely well.

Blanche de Chambly
Unibroue - Chambly, Quebec, Canada
Belgian-style Witbier
Aroma: Beautiful aroma of honey, light coriander, and sweet citrus fruits.
Appearance: Somewhat clear with a white head. Light gold in color.
Flavor: Mild, balanced flavors of citrus, wheat, coriander, and herbs.  The finish is a bit tart (good for style) and dry.

Anchor Steam Beer
Anchor Brewing Company - San Francisco, CA
California Common Beer

Aroma: Sweet aromas of butterscotch, toast, and light fruit.
Appearance: Perfect for style - dark gold to light copper in color with good clarity.
Flavor: Woody hops provide good hop bitterness.  Malt provides a medium body.  Fruity character is mild.  A pleasant, somewhat complex ale.

Rogue Brutal Bitter
Rogue Ales - Newport, OR
Strong Bitter

Aroma: Citrus, grapefruit peel, resiny American hops. 
Appearance: Copper in color; clear with a good stand of white foam.
Flavor: This is far too hoppy and resiny for the style.  Malt is delicious, but far in the background. This is a remarkable beer that is very delicious - good citrus, woody hop character in flavor and bitterness.  Does not really fit into the English ESB style, however.

Spaten Premium
Spaten-Brau - Munich, Germany
Munich Helles
Aroma: Hint of sulfur with sweet malt aromas and fruity undertones.
Appearance: Light gold in color; clear with white head.
Flavor: A bit light in body, but very clean.  Malt is pleasant but should be a bit more full.  A bit dry for a Helles.

Abita Amber
Abita Brewing Company - Abita Springs, LA
Vienna Lager

Aroma: Light caramel and toast with a hint of herbal, celery salt aroma.
Appearance: Light amber and clear.
Flavor: Very drinkable, but a bit mild in flavor.  Refreshing, but a bit dry.  Needs more complex toasty German or Vienna malt character to be an outstanding Vienna Lager.

Grolsch Amber Ale
Grolsche Bierbrouwerij - Enschede, Netherlands
Northern German Altbier
Aroma: Malt, toast, slightly herbal with a hint of skunk (light-struck).  Slightly musky.
Appearance: Dark copper to light brown in color with attractive white head.
Flavor: A bit two-dimensional and light in flavor and body for style.  Needs more complexity from German malt and hops to be remarkable.  Not assertively bitter - pleasant, but a bit bland.

Young's Special London Ale
Young and Company's Brewery - Wandsworth, UK
Strong Bitter / English Pale Ale 
Aroma: Fruit and citrus with notes of cola and paper.
Appearance: Copper in color; clear with a good stand of white foam.  Could be a bit over-carbonated.
Flavor: Seems very fruity and citrus-like - hints of American hops.  This is a bit too hoppy and fruity for the style.  There should be more crystal / caramel malt complexity.  Malt character is too far in the background.  A very drinkable ale, however.

Bar Harbor Real Ale
Atlantic Brewing Company - Bar Harbor, ME
Northern English Brown Ale
Aroma: Coffee and malt with a bit too much roasted aroma for this style.
Appearance: Medium brown and clear.  Very attractive appearance.
Flavor: Bready and toasty with a slightly dry finish. More nutty character would be nice.  Tastes like bread crust.  A bit too thin in body.  There is a slight caramel note with hints of sherry in the background.  Overall, an interesting ale.

Erdinger Hefe-Weizen Dark
Erdinger Weissbrau - Germany
Aroma: Malt and caramel with hints of banana, clove, and fruit.
Appearance: Nice tan head and dark brown color.  This could be a bit too dark for the style.
Flavor: Not very complex for a Dunkelweizen.  The yeast flavors are very subtle here - should have more clove, banana, spicy character and fermentation complexity.

Snake Dog IPA
Flying Dog Brewery - Denver, CO
India Pale Ale
Aroma: Musky, hoppy, citrusy.  Like pine bark with malt in the background.
Appearance: Medium gold to copper in color and very clear.  Medium carbonation is nice.
Flavor: Tea-like with notes of citrus, tannin and grapefruit. Hop combination is strong, but a bit astringent.  Hops should be less medicinal and harsh - more smooth hop intensity would be desirable.  Hops are intense here, but not very pleasant in flavor.

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