Posts tagged ‘beer styles’

August 3, 2012

The Session #66 – The One Beer to Rule Them All

This month, Craig Gravina at Drink Drank is host for The Session #66 and invites us to consider “The One Beer to Rule Them All”.  The gauntlet is thrown down with the challenge to design, and describe in whatever style we choose to, our own personal perfect beer. Well I reckon that should be easy enough.

For starters it’s just a matter of settling on a favourite style.  That’s easy.  Its an… No wait, maybe an… Erm, or how about… No, that won’t do.  Try again.  Forget pigeonholing styles, how about just a description.  So, hoppy.  Malty.  Dark.  Bitter.  Light.  Hints of coffee.  Strong.  Citrusy. Mellow.  Sour.  Piney.  Slightly spiced.  Fruity.  Modern.  High gravity.  Sessionable.  Traditional.  Yes.  All of them.  And a bit more.

Maybe its me being fickle, but I’d rather think that it is an essential part of the appeal of beer that I can’t pin down a specific style or a group of non-conflicting characteristics that would all be present in my perfect beer.  The sheer variety of styles and interpretations is part of what I love.  Maybe I can’t contribute to this session after all.  On the other hand, there’s a get-out clause. Craig’s introduction to the topic said that it doesn’t matter how ridiculous it is – so maybe I can be a bit creative…

So, in my mind’s eye there’s a large tulip glass containing about a goodly volume of a golden beer with a crisp clean head.  The aromas are fresh and hoppy, but not excessively so, and the taste matches – gently bitter, cool and refreshing, slightly citrusy hops that tantalise rather than assault the taste buds.  Another sip, and the taste is now richer, more biscuity with an earthy, sour but refreshing tang developing.  A quick glance at the glass reveals the beer to be darker than first impressions, appearing a deeper golden brown now and then the taste seems somehow stronger.  The smell of hops intensifies with a slight pine edge, and that hoppy taste cuts deeper through the flavour, before mellowing away on the tongue, almost melting into a rounded richness, darker malt flavours pushing forward ahead of a vague hint of hedgerow fruit.

A pause to reflect on the experience so far, and on picking up the glass once more the beer is darker again, and tastes richer, smoother, with delicate roasty tones and a hint of first chocolate then coffee intensifying from cappuccino to espresso.  An increasing sense of strength, the hop bitterness building but always in balance with the body of this now near-black beast of a beer.  Rich, lush, with dark fruits, rum, burnt orange, all hinted at then just as quickly gone as the taste develops. 

A moment of disappointment on finding the glass is empty is quickly displaced by the joy of finding that, somehow, there’s just enough left in the bottle for another one.  Another journey through the tapestry of beer flavours begins…

Ok.  So the chances of really brewing something that catalogues all the infinite variety of beer and is served from a bottomless bottle is perhaps just a tiny bit fanciful.  But with all that exciting beer out there to choose from, I could never settle for just one style let alone a single beer.

There was one last piece to the challenge.  We have to name our beer.  I think I’ll call it “kaleidoscope”.