To ensure some continuity, two of the beers from last time were allowed back in, namely the Meckatzer Weiss-Gold (the winner from 2011) and Wernesgrüner Pils (5th). The methodology was the same: I dressed up the beer bottles (all half-litres) in German newspapers and opened them before placing them randomly in the fridge. Then, one of my friends who hadn’t seen any of this would pick a beer randomly and pour it into three anonymous glasses. We then proceeded to sniff, drink and score them one by one whilst the empties were placed along a wall in the order in which they were served. Finally, once all were empty, we ceremoniously disrobed the bottles to reveal which beer was which.
The selection this time was based around golden-coloured beers of various types, namely two Pilsners (one of which was cheap, the other ridiculously cheap), three Octoberfest-style beers, two Helles, one Bock and last, but not least, a very expensive bottle imported from Britain, labelled “VSOP”, which I believe is short for "Very Sour Old Piss", but since it tasted rather good it is possible that I may be wrong there. Incidentally, just to illustrate the price range we're talking about: I could have bought about 15 bottles of the cheapest beer for the same price.
The results certainly showed that price is not necessarily proportional to taste or quality. Our two favourites were the cheap and the even cheaper Pilsners, whereas the VSOP didn’t quite make it to the throne. A note to British readers out there: the "p" stands for "points" and not the price of the beer in pence (though I wish it was). The results:
1) Wernesgrüner Pils (25p)
2) Ratskrone Pils (24p)
3) Pedigree VSOP (21p)
3) Schussenrieder Helles (21p)
5) Andechs Bock (19p)
6) Augustiner Octoberfest (18p)
7) Meckatzer Weiss-Gold (17p)
7) Maiser Heinrich Urstoff (17p)
9) Augustiner Edelstoff (8p)
|The podium! And the others. And the poor beer that nobody likes.|
The unobservant reader has by now no doubt failed to notice that last year’s winner didn’t do quite as well this year – it finished way down in 7th place. There could, of course, be any number of reasons for this, such as coincidence and Act of Gambrinus. However, I strongly believe that all the non-winning German breweries have taken note of the results last year and worked very hard to improve their brews, whereas the winner last year may have been a little complacent, resting on the hoppy laurels and basking in the malty glory for a bit too long. I expect greater things from everyone next year.
It should also be noted that this event took place on a Friday when the weather was unusually warm, so perhaps the Pilsners had a little advantage there. Furthermore, since the beers were served from the fridge at the same, cold temperature, the beers that should ideally be served warmer (especially the bock and the VSOP) probably had a disadvantage. It must also be admitted that two of the three tasters were already blind drunk since they had been following the Norwegian tradition of knocking back all alcoholic beverages within earshot since leaving Norway. So essentially, this turned out to be a giant excuse to get drunk and had nothing to do with a proper beer tasting session. Oh well, never mind.
It’s good fun though, drinking beer and pretending you know something about it. Furthermore, judging something that cannot defend itself in other ways than by losing its head gives you a sense of power. Moah-hah-hah!