Scribblings from the hard shoulder of the Information Superhighway

Hunting Beer (again)

London hosted a different Beer event last week “Beer Exposed” (http://www.beerexposed.com) – this was a premium event featuring tutored tastings from some of the industrys best known names, representatives from some of Europes finest breweries and, perhaps most importantly, opportunities to sample the brews.

It cost around £14 to get into the event, but all the drinks were free to sample after admission. Admittedly most of the samples were on the small side, but there were plenty, and the admission fee included a half pint tasting goblet, programme and carrier bag. Most of the beers were also available to purchase to take home or for delivery. 

I attended with two very good friends, Rick and Tom. Rick has a great palate and is a wine buff, where Tom and I regularly enjoy a few beers together. We chose the Friday lunchtime session as we figured it would be more civilised than an evening session. 

The first stand we were presented with, on arrival, was Shepherd Neame. They had several ales on sample, including their autumnal beer Late Red and Canterbury Jack which I recall left me unimpressed back at the GBBF in August. I was quite relieved when both Rick and Tom shared my view… light, insubstantial and frankly bland.

From Shepherd Neame we worked our way through a number of interesting brewery stands including Duyck (who brew Jenlain which is probably my favourite beer), and some interesting lagers from further afield. We sampled Hue Beer from Vietnam, Pearl River Beer from Guangzhou, Bintang from Indonesia, Viru from Estonia, Cubanero from well, you can guess, and Moosehead from Canada.

It wasnt just lagers though, Dragon Stout from Jamaica had a stand, and Belgian Beers were well represented. While sampling Rodenbach I was explaining to Tom about the wild yeasts that give Lambic beers their unique sourness when the subject of dark lagers came up… Tom had never heard of dark lager, so we set out on a quest to find dark lagers. 

We found several. Budweiser (the original from Ceske Budovice) had a stand featuring their dark lager, a Spanish example Alhambra, Bernard from the Czech Republic and Xingu from Brazil. My recollection is that the Xingu came out on top in this very unstructured tasting, with Bernard a close second. Sadly Tsing Tao from China hadnt brought their dark lager, but maybe next time. 

We also enjoyed one of the tutored tastings with beer writer Adrian Tierney-Jones (http://www.beeralewhatever.com/). During an interesting half an hour we sampled pale lagers through to stout, including Castel Lager, from Ethiopia – a first for me. 

I lost count of the number of brews we sampled, but we probably only touched about half the brews on offer, and missed the American beers completely! Sadly our time had run out, each session at Beer Exposed is limited to four hours, but we discovered some fascinating brews which I plan to seek out in the future. 

You wont be surprised to learn that my wife described my mood as mellow when I got home.

And that night I slept the sleep of the just!