This weekend, we conducted our first ever blind beer tasting--in what I hope becomes a rich tradition at Beervana. I generally followed the successful formula I used in the winter beer tasting I did for the Willamette Week last December, which was itself a modification of the now-legendary (but unavailable online) macropilsner taste-off. I may make minor revisions along the way, but here's how it works.
A non-participant poured out the beers into numbered glasses, keyed to a sheet with the list of beers in the tasting. Participants then tasted each beer, gave it a rating, and identified his favorite (yes, all the tasters were men, but that, with luck, will change) and second-favorite. I also asked for least fave, but that potentially volatile element may or may not continue.
This is more than a parlor trick. Depending on the flight of beers you're tasting, it is remarkable to see how similar they are, and how much factors unrelated to our senses are in determinining which beers we think are our favorites. It is also useful in exploding certain myths privately and publicly held. Explosions are painful, but we are fearless drinkers.
This weekend's tasting included a flight of pale ales, and I'll put up the results in a few hours.