Here's the thing. I don't like to drink all that much on Sunday and really like to avoid drinking on Monday. It's not that I plan when I do but have always liked clear days. And, for other reasons, I have to stay clear anyway. But I was asked to present some IPAs to some good beery people tonight and, well, that's usually too interesting to pass up. So, I am going to get thinking about the stink of beer. I was over in northern NY Friday, bought a bunch of strong if not stenchily aromatic IPAs and plan to do a few experiments in smell-o-logy. I hope to finally prove the speed of smell. I am planning to see if anyone shouts out the word "parsley!!!" without prompting. And I also plan to see if we can find out how long beer people can go without actually sipping.
Should be fun. More later when the results start coming in. Any other experiments you suggest I impose upon the lab rats?
Update: A fairly focused range of beers can still illustrate a wide range of concepts about beer. I brought Oskar Blues Dales Pale Ale, Sixpoint Bengali Tiger, Stone Arrogant Bastard, Firestone Walker Double Jack, Anderson Valley Imperial IPA and Stoudt Double IPA. Beau's poured its Beaver River I.P.Eh. So here is some of what we thought about:
♦ Brand theme. Stone was compared to Sixpoint. Both have very iconic imagery but Stone conveys all that gargoyle content while Sixpoint is much more subtle... not hard while you think of it. Both identify but only one irritates. But does it matter as long as it identifies? Anderson Valley looked like a 70s album cover but we were unclear on Zep or Yes.
♦ Price point. The Sixpoint was the cheapest beer (at $5.00 per litre) but stood out with the Firestone Walker (at $12 per litre) as the more tasty two of the set. This got is us into a conversation about who is the market for beer that go from $12 to $20 per litre and beyond.
♦ Regionalist tastes. Stoudt at 10% had a butter note that got us into diacetyl while the Anderson Valley gave us hard water. I suggested this might be an east coast v. west coast phenomenon. We talked about some of the earthy notes in Quebec beers that you don't see elsewhere, too.
♦ Speed of smell. I clocked it at about 4 inches a second.
♦ Memory and taste. I wondered how much of taste and memory is the mind triggering taste associations as much as tastes and smell takes us back to a former place. I thought we unpack the mix of flavours in a given beer - and one that is very similar to the last and next beers - and our brain seeks to differentiate through distinguishing associations.
Finally, what I really learned is that you can lead a tasting without tasting. You get to ask questions and listen. I find that usually much more interesting than hearing what I think.