Party Tip: “Beer Advocacy” Station

In recent weeks I’ve had a couple of shindigs and decided that instead of trying to do a proper tasting in the midst of a party I would set up a self service Beer Advocacy Station. I don’t know enough myself to sit and lecture people on brewing to style, original gravity, or other such subjects, but I do want to get people drinking better beer.

I put out a handful of bottles in bowls of ice, put up a sign with descriptions that I culled either from BeerAdvocate or the brewers’ sites, and an array of small sampling glasses. I opened one bottle to start with that I poured out for myself and let the curiosity of my guests do the rest. It was very interesting to see what bottles emptied and what ones wouldn’t budge, all with very little input from me.

It only took an extra half hour in the overall scheme of party prep. For me this wasn’t too hard because I already had all of the beers I put out down in my cellar. If you do something like this and need to buy the day of keep the bottle count to 6 to 8 bottles – a mix of bombers and 12oz. That should keep the cost to somewhere between $30-$50 depending on how fancy you want to get. If you go with a “locals only” feel you could probably get away under $30. In the end given the amount of halfway decent beer leftover in my fridge from the guests it ends up in a break even situation.

Night #1 Offerings:
Nøgne Ø Brown Ale
Kasteel Tripel
Tröegs Tröegenator Double Bock
Stone 12th Anniversary Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout
Saint Botolph’s Town
Wittekerke
Stone Vertical Epic 08.08.08

Night #2 Offerings:
Mayflower Porter
Ommegang Chocolate Indulgence
Saint Botolph’s Town
Stone Vertical Epic 08.08.08
La Fin Du Monde
Ephemere
Wittekerke
Southampton Abbot 12

Biggest Hits:
Kasteel Tripel– Everybody commented on its champagne-like quality.
Saint Botolph’s Town– Liked the mild sweet earthiness.
Stone 12th Anniv.– Much love for the richness & earthy cocoa.
Mayflower Porter– One guy called it the perfect beer.

This was a fun little experiment that allowed for some interesting conversation from people who were already beer converts and for those who drink Sam Adams when they want something good, but generally don’t think much about beer and didn’t expect something like chocolate in beer.

If you’ve got the time and the beer give this a shot at your next party and see what happens.

Cheers! -John

Advertisements

Mayflower Porter Does It Right

Mayflower Porter (5.5% ABV bottle)- English Porter- Mayflower Brewing Co., MA
Grade: A+ BREW OF THE BLOG!

mfportersmall1I’m always glad to pick up a beer from a local brewery to help support the cause and craft of local brewers and artisans, but I’m downright ecstatic when it’s a local beer that’s this damn good.

Mayflower Porter pours out a lovely black-brown with a respectable tan head that dissipates to a thin covering with a little lacing. The nose isn’t too powerful, but it is pleasant with a bit of raisin and general roasted malt smokiness. The first sip reveals a great body as it spreads across the tongue. Not too thick and not too thin; it’s just right. Goldilocks would dig it. Mayflower Porter tastes like a porter should with lots of roasted nuttiness up front, some malt sweetness, and a slightly dry finish. There’s some hop and coffee-like bitterness around the edges that is thankfully not overwhelming in the least. Combined with sharp carbonation the mild bitters maintain a solid balance to the beer. Even after a few Mayflower Porters you don’t find an unpleasant build up of after taste that you would expect from a dark beer. There’s no acrid bitterness and no sweet malt slickness. Throw all that together with the reasonable 5.5% ABV and you have a beer that could take you from the beginning through to the end of the night with no regrets.

This beer is an absolute pleasure to drink. What blows me away about Mayflower Porter is its simplicity. There’s plenty going on with the flavors of this beer yet they never bombard you, are heavy handed, or out of balance. That’s exactly what an English porter is supposed to be. If you are tired of imperial or Baltic porters and would like something easy-going and basic pick up some Mayflower Porter and drink the hell out of it.

Cheers! -John