Always the “make up ridiculous crap” type of Beer Gospel Spreader, I put together a tasting for last night as part of Electric Burrito’s Beer Education Project called April Foolishness.
The idea on this month’s tasting was to take a “look” at a bunch of macro American lagers with our eyes closed. It was a BLIND tasting. This way, if folks came in lifelong Miller Lite drinkers they might be intrigued to find out that they actually preferred another beer entirely, despite the coolness of Lite’s advertising, peer pressure or family tradition.
I selected an array of crap beers, then tossed in a few nicer, light-colored beers. The beers involved:
Budweiser, Bud Light, Miller Lite, Coors Light, Milwaukee’s Best Light (my sentimental favorite), Corona, O’Doul’s, Zatec, Hub City’s Golden Ale and North Coast’s Blue Star
I asked our participants to make a prediction about what they thought they might choose as their favorite based on their past drinking history and preferences. Or about guessing which was Bud, which was Coors Light, etc. Or hoping to notice the difference of Blue Star (American Wheat), Hub City’s Ale-ness, or Zatec’s actual use of hops in an otherwise visually similar beer to the American macros.
I then poured samples of the ten beers and let the note taking begin.
When the dust settled, one participant noted that “appearance means nothing.” I revealed the order of the beers and we did our ooh-ing and aah-ing. As I expected, the American powerhouses didn’t do so well. Looking at the rankings, half of the participants selected the Blue Star from North Coast Brewing Company as their subjective favorite of the evening. Another third of the crew picked it as number 2.
Zatec placed in the top three as often as it placed dead last, some tasters thrown by its hop character. Corona showed up the American macros, with only Coors Light getting any top three notice (interestingly, this is the second time poor Kyle has picked his sentimental favorite dead last in a blind taste).
All tasters noticed Hub City Golden Ale’s profile, and the afterthought entry, O’Doul’s NA, garnered three nods in third place and only one tenth place ranking. Of the O’Doul’s, one participant noted: “ok on a long weekend.” I’d say a loooooooooooooong weekend. A whale of a session beer.
The fearless leader
Did I make myself look like a fool? No. It was possible, as going blind can do. But no. I picked and preferred the Zatec. I picked the Golden Ale. I identified enjoyed the alt-styling of Blue Star. I identified the crisp and tasteless O’Doul’s, which I suppose I’d drink before all the others, so as not to waste stamina on something lousy (if no water were an alternative). Where the remaining beers were concerned, I favored the flavor of Corona and appreciated the overall least offensiveness of Budweiser. Actually, I’d probably take Bud over O’Doul’s, to be honest. The sulphury aromas of the others made them difficult to distinguish. They all put me off.
As one might guess, anything can happen in the world of the blind tasting, but this one came out with all the results I could have hoped for. It was clear to all in the group of the differences. It was enlightening on many levels, and firmer traction made for better beer seeking in my small town. Which is the point of these tastings. Last night, Michelle and I led a bunch of horses to water, and most of them preferred something else.