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Monday, October 22, 2007

Beer Appreciation Week#3

After a very enjoyable Saturday at Volo for their Cask Day event, I managed to get up and head off to my beer appreciation course at George Brown College on Sunday to listen to Ron Keefe (instructor) tell us about Lagers.

As soon as everyone arrived, Ron poured us all a sample of a warm lager that tasted like golden lake water with corn in it. The idea was to taste what one of the most popular beers tastes like when warm and without a lime wedge; yep, it was Corona. What an offensive taste, well, really there was no taste. I haven't drank a full bottle of this Mexican beer in ages and I am reminded why. Anyways, it was a good example of how bland some lagers can be.

Ron talked in length about how lagers came to be. He cited glassware as one reason why breweries started introducing lighter coloured beers. Because you could see thru the new glassware, you could see what you were drinking and people were being turned off on the colour of the porters, stouts, and dark English Ales. Lagers were born and now 90% of all beer consumed fall under the lager category.

We were fortunate again as we watched another Micheal Jackson Beer Hunter video on the fight between the Czech Republic Budvar beer and the American Budweiser. Both claim to be the original Budweiser and the battle is still before the courts. Jackson toured the historic Pilsner Urquell brewery that all lager beer pays credence to today. Even though the video's are a bit dated, they are still a great tool for educating beginners on some of the finer beer details.

Ron also talked about the effect that water can have on the body of beer. We took a light lager (Budweiser) and added a bit of salt which created a fuller body. He talked about how breweries can alter water for the different styles they brew.

We sampled some good lagers of different styles. We tasted and judged Budweiser, Czechvar (Budvar), Kostritzer Schwarzbier, St. Andre Vienna, Brooklyn, Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier, Steam Whistle, Holsten Maibock and Pilsner Urquell. All beer is available at the LCBO.

My eyes were opened to the Rauchbier. Nice smoky smell of crisp bacon or an outdoor campfire. This is the first smoke beer that I really enjoyed. Big winner of the day was Brooklyn Lager. I love the hops.

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