What do you think might be the most common adjective to describe the taste of a real ale. Well of course there is bitter and perhaps malty, but tonight I have been engaged in intensive research to bring the tasting vocabulary up to date.
We've just got back from our first evening at the Cambridge beer festival, and whilst we were supping our halves of Fraoch heather ale and Ginger Tosser and the like, I did a count up of the most popular words used in the tasting notes of the 212 ales in the catalogue. Now I should add that we only tasted six beers between us tonight, most of them half pints, so there notes refer to what is written in the catalogue, not what we tasted.
A huge range of descriptors were found in the notes, many naming specific fruits or spices such as pomegranates, cloves, liquorice, elderflowers etc. I couldn't possibly bore you with them all, but after discounting such generic terms as bitterness, malt, hops and sweetness, here are the top ten in alphabetical order.
Would anyone care to guess what the top three or four in terms of frequency of use were? You might be surprised. Answers tomorrow.
BTW those we have tasted tonight have all been remarkably good, because the tasting notes help us to find the ones we like. Once again we were blown away by the gorgeous BBC2 from Brentwood Brewery. This lovely beer comes in at an unbelievably low 2.5% alcohol. It has more taste and aroma than many a much much stronger beer. If Brentwood can do it, why can't the others?
Yours in moderation