Some people look forward to Christmas or New Year’s. I was looking forward to January 7th – that’s when the second level of the Prud’homme Beer Certification started!
This session is held at Steam Whistle brewery for the next 8 weeks, with one session being held at a cooking school. It’s a great location, but remind me next time not to drive and park downtown when there’s a Raptors game on down the street. Parking turned out to be $22. I could have used it to buy something lovely, like more of Mill Street’s Vanilla Porter that I seem to have gotten addicted to.
It was great to see familiar faces from the Beer Enthusiast sessions, and meet some new people. Roger started by talking about some ingredients, namely malt and hops. The hops conversations made me even more eager to get a hops plant from Toronto Brewing and I’ll admit I kind of zoned out for a while as I was thinking about just where I could plant them. Roger had a number of sample jars, probably 15-20, with different type of hops for us to smell. Even with an oncoming cold that was affecting my senses of smell and taste, I was surprised by the wide range of attributes, from the earthy Fuggle to the citrusy Cascade and all points in between.
There were two tastings as well, with a total of 8 beers tried. I tried to discern some of the flavours and aromas that the rest of the class were picking up, but I was having difficulty. I know that some of that is due to my lack of experience with the deep sensory exploration of beer and I’m hoping that the rest is due to this cold dulling my senses. The beers were all quite mild: light beers, Helles, lagers and pilsners. My notes are on my iPad (going paperless this time) which is still in the car (doh!), so I can’t get into detail right now, but my overall impressions were good sitting-on-the-dock-on-a-summer-day beers, background beer, ie good for session drinking while you do other fun things like hang out with friends or family, nothing that is going to make you stop and think, hey that’s interesting or wow, that’s an amazing beer.