A few weeks back, I had the good fortune to be part of two different tastings on one day. One took place at our local arts center and featured homebrews that Monte and I had brewed. The second was one I lined up at Electric Burrito in which reps from Olde Main to come down from Ames to talk about their beers.
Both tastings afforded me the opportunity to sit back and watch another person introduce the beers on offer to a wide range of folks from enthusiastic good beer drinkers to committed Bud drinkers to general bland-dieters.
What I noticed was this: if we have a range of styles represented, we tend to introduce them from lightest to darkest. Which makes sense. But watching someone else do the introducing for a change afforded me the opportunity to eye the taster’s reaction in a different light. If it was a Bud drinker or a bland-dieter, I could actually see their ears turn off the moment the wheat beer was mentioned.
Click. I’ll have the wheat beer.
They didn’t even hear the descriptions of the other amazing beers on offer. They tuned out long enough for the speaker to finish so they could have the “light one.” (Sometimes they just interrupted and said, “Yep, wheat beer, I’ll have that.”)
Makes me want to brew a dunkelweizen for the next tasting and simply not mention the dunkel part.
It just seemed like mentioning the lighter beers too early in the discussion was akin to starting a sentence with but. But shuts off people’s ears as well. “You did a really good job on this project, but next time it’s imperative that you stay under budget. That you proofread your work. That you haul the trash away. That you…
Nevermind the part about my intent for these tastings was for folks to try every single beer to hunt down their preferences. Bland-dieters aren’t always up for that. My resolution is to at least have the descriptions for those impressive, yet darker-colored beers, be heard. And to do that (in these settings, at least), I’m going to introduce the darker stuff first.
So at least they know what they’re missing.