But I’ve been forced to accept this has left gaps in my beer knowledge. When I was in a beer tasting competition last year it became clear that I wasn’t that good at spotting different lager styles. So like a general re-fighting his last battle I stocked up on a selection of different lagers to taste before the competition this year.
|This year's competition|
I have started to get better at spotting lager styles, and though I still have a long way to go we won the competition again and my new knowledge was of some help. Though not as much as it could have been - it's hard to decide which way to jump when blind tasting. Lagers and ales I can now separate not just on the unpleasant vegetal DMS content of many lagers, but also on the general lack of aroma of lagers compared to ales, due to their low ester levels from unnaturally cold fermentation. I know Pilsners should have noticeable hop bitterness, but Helles don’t (which makes them particularly dull beers but I digress). Bocks and Dobblebocks I could have a reasonable chance at identifying as they’re like strong ales but with less aroma.
But what about the rest? Are there any top tips on telling a Czech pilsner from a German one? What classic beers or styles do I really need to get to grips with? Come to think of it I need to work on kölsch too, any others? Anyway, suggestions welcome.