Beer Workshop

Varieties of BeerSo, last night I was involved in a “Beer Workshop” on Google+. A few of us from the Whitechapel forum got together, under the leadership of Robin over at The Thirsty Wench, and formed a Google+ hangout, wherein we drank beer, discussed beer, and had a grand ‘ole time. Now, why am I writing about this? Well… to inform you about beer! You see, beer comes in many different shapes and sizes. You have lagers, ales, stouts, porters, lambics. But even beyond that… take ales for instance. There are IPA’s or Indian Pale Ales. There is Irish Ale, Brown Ale, Strong Ale, Pumpkin Ale, Belgium Ale… And they all taste, smell, and brew differently. There’s a wide, wide world of beer out there. And a lot of them are very tasty.

So, to return to last night. The beer of choice was stout. Now, on a personal note, stout is one of my favorite varieties of beer. However, I was unprepared for the Beer Workshop last night, so I didn’t actually *have* any stout in the house… shame on me. So I was more of a casual observer than an active participant. I have to say, though, for the first Beer Workshop (of which there are many planned) this gave me a great advantage. I was able to observe the proceedings, and get a much better idea of how the future workshops would go… as well as any possible improvements. So to start things off Robin insisted that everyone have a Guinness and a locally brewed stout, or at least their favorite (besides Guinness).

Anatomy of  a Guinness

The Anatomy of a Guinness

As everyone began to sip their brews, Robin explained a little of the history of stout and where it acquires its stereotypical flavors and smells from. Then each person went around, describing their reactions to it. There were a few of us who were long-time Guinness drinkers, and a few that this was their first time tasting Guinness, so it was quite interesting hearing their various reactions to the brew. The unanimous opinion was that drinking Guinness is much like “going home.”

Old Rasputin Imperial StoutFollowing the Guinness tasting, everyone chatted a little longer while they finished their pints. Then Robin called the second half to order – the local, or favorite stout. Everyone poured their individual brews, and then they went around again, describing the personal choice, explaining why they liked it, or didn’t like it if it was a new experience. This was rather successful as well, with only one mishap – a spilled drink.

Following this, Robin asked for feedback, and we discussed possible suggestions for the next Beer Workshop. Then one of the members broke out another bottle that he had purchased, something new – a Brooklyn Brewery “Local 2.” We proceeded to hang out, chat, and get a little silly as we wound down from the workshop itself. *The funny part of all of this is that the member that brought the extra bottle had one with a cork, and the cork popped and beer showered him, getting in his eye… This got quite a few laughs and is really what set the silly mood for the remainder of the evening.*

Overall, I would say that the first Beer Workshop was a huge success, and I’m sure that Robin will have a more in depth post about it on her blog – The Thirsty Wench – in the near future.


About Ian E. Muller

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