Amateur Hour: Brandon K and Friends Test Out Craft Beers
What do you get when you have four people that know nothing about craft beer taste test craft beer?My editor was so kind as to gift me an array of craft beers for my birthday. I chose five and Red and I headed over to Mike and Natalia's house to sample them. We were all pretty much craft beer virgins, and these five popped our cherries. Check out our thoughts below.
1. BUSTED KNUCKLE ALE (7.2% Alc/Vol)
This beer's slogan is Quaff On! I don't know what that means, so I Googled it. Translation--drink heartily. This beer is brewed in Southern Indiana and goes into great detail on the label saying this beer is not for sippers, sniffers or swirlers. Stop talking and drink! So, we drank.
Natalia: This smells highly potent. It kind of tastes like chocolate. I don't want to take another drink but I will. Yes, this tastes bad, tastes like it smells.
Red: This tastes like the woods.
Mike: It tastes kind of nutty and like chocolate. It's okay, like the way a fire place smells. It's not super heavy and it's getting better as I drink more.
Brandon K: I think it tastes okay. Kind of smokey and leathery.
2. FOUNDERS BREAKFAST STOUT (8.3% Alc/Vol)
Brewed in Grand Rapids, Michigan, it's described as the coffee lover's consummate beer.
Natalia: Smells like Hershey's Syrup mixed with alcohol. How was this ever brewed? Tastes like yeeeeccccchhhh (makes super sour face).
Red: This is disgusting and tastes like shit.
Mike: Boy this is black as night. It smells like coffee but is thicker. I like Busted Knuckle better.
Brandon K: I like coffee and I'm definitely getting the taste. I like this one, but I couldn't stomach more than one bottle. It's thick like tomato soup.
3. SAMUEL SMITH'S NUT BROWN ALE (5.0% Alc/Vol)
This is coming from across the pond in England and has been brewed since 1758, no doubt by some chaps that probably had terrible teeth at one time or another.
Natalia: I have no words (makes wretched, puking sound).
Red: It tastes like after I've vomited from getting drunk. I ask her if she's going to finish her sample glass, and she replies by saying no, it tastes like vomit. Duh idiot.
Mike: My least favorite so far. Mike shakes his head and says not a fan. This is a bitter pill.
Brandon K: I think it smells like iced tea and tastes a bit sweet. I don't think it's all that bad and it feels pretty light on my stomach.
4. WOODCHUCK HARD PUMPKIN CIDER (6.9% Alc/Vol)
Rare and limited run cider that features pumpkin in it's purest form, coming out of Vermont.
Natalia: Oooh, this tastes like sparkling apple cider and fizzles on my tongue like Pop Rocks! But it's a little too sweet.
Red: It tastes good, but I don't taste the pumpkin. I'm getting apple cider too.
Mike: It has a good initial, sweet taste, but I don't care for the pumpkin aftertaste.
Brandon K: This is pretty mellow. I'm not a big fan of pumpkin, but it's not overwhelming. It goes down easy.
5. DRAGONFLY IPA (6.7% Alc/Vol)
Our last tasting beer hails from Upland Brewing Company in Bloomington Indiana. Hot dog! It supposedly contains just the right amount of bite.
Natalia: Uugghhh, this smells like a bad orange that's gone over. Natalia then says to Mike if he says standard IPA one more time she's going to punch him in the face. Overall, Natalia is no fan of this IPA.
Red: I tell her emphatically she'll like it because it came from Bloomington, home of her alma mater, Indiana University. She turns her nose to me and takes a sip. It's alright...wait, never mind, it's gross.
Mike: Before words slip from his lips comes an audible and laboring groan. I can tell you, Natalia won't take more than one sip of this. It's basically just a standard IPA (he said it again!). Whenever I drink an IPA I feel like my breath is going to smell bad.
Brandon K: I agree with Mike and mention it tastes like most of the other standard IPAs I've had (which isn't all that many). Rex, my favorite cat of Mike and Natalia's made an appearance by my tasting glass for this one. In the past, he's knocked my beers over and had a sip or two for himself. This time he just blinked his eyes and shrinked back, clearly unimpressed.
So, there you have it. Mike was the most excited to taste all the different beers and even lamented about one day becoming a professional beer taster. His skill set and palate is lacking a bit at the moment, I believe. I don't think Natalia or Red finished any of their samples, leaving Mike and me to do the deed. They both agreed that the Woodchuck was the best. Mike liked the Busted Knuckle best and I preferred Ye Ole England's Nut Brown Ale from Samuel Smith. I think Rex the cat would've rather we just drank Busch Light, so he could partake.
By the end, no one really had a buzz. After the official tasting concluded, Mike and I helped ourselves to a couple more standard IPAs and chose a shitty horror movie to make the women sit through for our entertainment, as is our tradition. This year was Deathgasm. Twas alright, good for some laughs and some gore. It certainly was no Cannibal Holocaust, which I do believe was Natalia's favorite feature film thus far. She's twisted though...oh wait, that's me.
We had fun tasting new beers. I'd encourage any beer drinkers to do the same sometime. Get together with a couple friends and pick some beers you've never had before, then let your mouth and senses surprise you. You may find a new favorite beer, or you may end up like me, and just stick with Miller Lite.