Last Saturday, I spent the day as head steward for the OBC’s Fall Classic. I handed off a whole lot of beer for people to drink and didn’t really get to try any myself….until the Best of Show round. I quietly sipped from every bottle I cleared away as the judges made their eliminations.
Some of the beers were pretty good. I remember the taste of solid amber and IPA entries. There were at least three, maybe five, that shouldn’t have been there at all; too fizzy, bad aftertaste, things like that. I spit them out–which feels weird at first but why drink something that tastes bad?
In the end, I stood by while the judges mulled over five beverages, debating which they should choose and I quietly sampled the entries as they debated. In the end, two were cut: one American Pale Ale (which was excellent) and a blonde ale (which was also excellent and took the Honorable Mention.)
The results are pretty astounding. A cider taking 3rd? It was like drinking a really good apple though. Not too crisp, not too sweet: just a really solid drink that could be had with almost anything.
Second place surprised me the most, though. I do not like cucumbers and I detest hot spices in my beer. But although the nose had a strong vegetal scent, the flavors worked together perfectly. I can’t explain it. That beer should have been something I hated and I didn’t. It’s the kind of thing I’d want to share because of the alchemy that makes a beer work, sometimes, even when it shouldn’t.
The title of first place porter doesn’t tell you enough: it was a raspberry porter that tasted like razor shavings of chocolate had been meshed with tart syrup and blended into awesome. It really deserved the victory and is a beer I would have stolen from the judges if I could have. It would’ve been like Prometheus taking fire to share with humanity, only with beer and I would’ve just shared it with my girlfriend.
But, you know. Close enough.