I finished the final two classes of the four-week Beer Tasting Mastery online course (for a more-detailed view of the course in general, read Beer Tasting Mastery: Sharpening the Senses).
And my beer-tasting and -smelling senses are markedly stronger because of it.
The last two course sessions, presented by HomeBrewAcademy.com, took us on tours of Germany and Belgium. Our virtual tasting group first evaluated Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier, though I had to settle for a similar hefeweissbier since I couldn’t find the suggested brew in my local liquor store.
Featuring low hop flavor/aroma and pronounced yeast characteristics, these easy-drinking wheat beers are a nice change of pace from the hop-forward IPAs I generally drink.
During the final class, we swirled, sniffed, and sipped Chimay Premiere (aka Chimay Red).
Clove and banana, hallmarks of these styles, generally aren’t my thing. But following the online discussion and after-hours comparisons, I developed a greater appreciation for the yeast-forward brews.
As a bonus, the course materials provided a nice history lesson for the region. We discussed the Reinheitsgebot, the German Purity Law of 1516, and delved into the many native styles, for Belgium especially. It’s incredible to think that while much has changed in the last 500 years, the key components to brewing a delicious beer remain so simple: malted grains, hops, yeast, and water.
Beer Tasting: Palate Challenge
The “palate challenge” for the two courses featured spices and dark fruits. While I blind-smelled only four-of-seven spices correctly, I’m proud to say I got a perfect 6/6 on the fruits. And that’s the beauty of this course — not only were we analyzing and evaluating actual beers, but we also became more familiar with typical aromas and flavors that characterize different brews.
Cheers to an excellent course. It’s one I recommend taking next time it’s offered.
Notes: A version of this post originally was published on timharan.com on Oct. 12, 2017. The instructor of my class asked that I not reference his name. Others at HomebrewAcademy.com will be jumping on board to teach future Beer Tasting Mastery classes in the future.