This guest post on Sophie Atherton’s blog is interesting for several reasons. First, because Ms. Woolgar, not being a fully-fledged beer geek, seems to have been able to react honestly to the beers she tasted without the fog of hype clouding her vision. Secondly, because of some of the language she uses to describe flavour and aroma:
- a hint of Maltesers
- a fresh, zesty lemon mousse aroma
- a slight toasted cumin flavour
- mustard and cress
- blue cheese.
That refreshingly original vocabulary, apparently based on gut feeling, is a pleasure to read.
A lot of people, us included, write about beer using words and terms largely informed by Michael ‘Beer Hunter’ Jackson, Roger Protz, and others in that lineage. People will describe ‘horse blanket’ when they really mean ‘that thing you get in that other beer that Michael Jackson said had a horse blanket character’. Who, apart from Adrian Tierney-Jones, has actually smelled a horse blanket? Seriously?
The same goes for ‘styles’. The established style framework has its uses, we think, but Alan is right to ask why there aren’t any/many alternatives. New ways of cutting the deck can be revealing, even if they ultimately fail. For example, we’ve been enjoying and pondering upon Tandleman’s distinction between beers for ‘supping’ and those for ‘sipping’. An entire classification system could be worked up from that — one that reflects the question of ‘sessionability’ while recognising that carbonation, bitterness, balance, and intensity of flavour are arguably as important as alcoholic strength.