image courtesy of The Ormskirk Baron
Nearly 100 beer bloggers plus representatives from breweries and other related industries came together for a weekend of beer drinking and discussing, organised by Zephyr Adventures.
Highlights included the two evening dinners organised by main sponsors MolsonCoors UK and Pilsner Urquell, the former served with a terrific selection of Sharp’s Connoisseurs Choice range and the latter hosted in the magnificent Anthony’s Piazza restaurant, within the stunning Corn Exchange building. (The whole sides of salmon were absolutely beautiful, both visually and to eat).
The agenda featured some excellent sessions including an unusually good technology one on blog platforms and website design by Leonard Austin, the night of international beers (for which kind European attendees brought stocks of a range of fascinating beers including a couple from Sweden that Pete will blog in coming weeks), a fascinating talk on taking blogging to the next level by Mark Dredge, Marverine Cole, and Zak Avery and a talk on the current state of the hops industry, by Paul Corbett, MD of Charles Faram.
The Live Blogging session was great fun. Ten beers in 50 minutes, giving each brewery just 5 short minutes at each table in which to serve their beer and tell us a little about it. I opted for micro-blogging via twitter and even that was tough in the time frame!
But my favourite session of the conference was a Comparative Beer and Glass Tasting with Spiegelau lead by Jon Gamble.
images courtesy of The Ormskirk Baron
Like many of the conference attendees, Pete and I were a little sceptical about how much difference the glasses would really make. Yes, it’s not uncommon to use different sizes and shapes of glass for drinking different wines, but this is beer we’re talking about!
As well as the four specialist glasses we were also provided with a regular pint glass – the kind you find in most pubs across the UK. In comparison with the Spiegelau glasses, the first thing we noticed was the thickness of the regular pint glass, including, of course, the rim.
We learned that the thick lip of the glass doesn’t deliver the beer to the right regions on the tongue for the very best beer tasting experience. In addition, the aromas of many beers dissipate quickly because of the shape of the glass. And the thicker glass makes it harder to admire the appearance of the beer within, especially when using the even thicker tankard-style beer mugs. Also, the thicker the glass, the longer it takes for the glass to adjust to the same temperature as the beer.
The Spiegelau glasses, by contrast, are thin and delicate, right up to the rim and the lip is narrow, allowing the beer to slip very smoothly into the mouth. This is said to improve mouthfeel of the beer. Being so smooth inside also helps beers keep their carbonation and head for longer.
For each of the four beers we were invited to try them in the fat pint glass and in a couple of the specialist glasses. The difference that the shapes of the glasses made not only to the aroma but, even more surprisingly, to the taste of the beers was a huge surprise.
Our first beer was a Camden Brewery wheat beer. The recommended glass was the tallest in the set, the Wheat Beer glass. Designed with the classic shape of a Bavarian wheat beer glass, the wide opening at the top enhances the aromas in traditional wheat beers, spiced beers and sour fruit lambics. We were instructed to pour slowly and gently to start and finish with a direct pour to create a thick and creamy foam head.
Our second beer was Krombacher Pilsner. The Tall Pilsner glass is again a classic shape designed to suit German and Bohemian-style pilsners. The shape accentuates the hoppy aromas and bitterness of these dry beers, whilst also showing off the pretty pale golden colour and carbonation.
Next up was Ilkley Brewery’s Lotus IPA for which we were recommended the served in our Lager glass. Created to bring out the subtleties of pale lagers, it’s also a good choice for ales and stouts. The shape, slightly wider at the mouth than the foot, also brings balance to the hoppy nose of the powerful IPAs that are so popular at the moment.
Last, we tried Ilkley Brewery’s Stout Mary in the Beer Tulip. The shape of the glass is particularly good at preserving aromas in the glass whether that’s hops or malt, or perhaps the hints of vanilla and bourbon from a bourbon cask-aged beer. We were told that the aromas are best enjoyed when the glass is filled only half way up. This glass was recommended for pilsner, Belgian style ales and powerful stouts.
We were not alone in being really pleasantly surprised at just how much difference the glasses made to the beer drinking experience and were thrilled when Spiegelau told the audience that the boxed sets were ours to take home with us.
Win a Spiegelau Beer Classics Connoisseur Set containing one each of the wheat beer glass, the pilsner glass, the lager glass and the tulip glass. Delivery to any UK mainland address is also included.
HOW TO ENTER
You can enter the competition in 2 ways.
Entry 1 – Blog Comment
Leave a comment below, answering the following question:
What beer would you recommend we try next in the Spiegelau Classic Connoisseur Tulip Beer Glass?
Entry 2 – Twitter
First follow both @SpiegelauUK and @KaveyF accounts. Existing followers are, of course, welcome to enter!
Then tweet the (exact) sentence below:
I’d love to win a set of @SpiegelauUK beer glasses from Kavey Eats! http://goo.gl/4ygm5 #KaveyEatsSpiegelau
RULES & DETAILS
The deadline for entries is midnight GMT Friday 29th June 2012.
The winners will be selected from all valid entries using a random number generator.
The prize is a Spiegelau Beer Classics Connoisseur Set containing one each of the wheat beer glass, the pilsner glass, the lager glass and the tulip glass and includes delivery to a UK mainland address only.
The prize cannot be redeemed for cash.
The prize is offered directly by RSN.UK Ltd (trading as Riedel, Spiegelau and Nachtmann).
One blog entry per person only. One twitter entry per person only. You do not have to enter both ways for your entries to be valid.
For twitter entries, winners must be following both @SpiegelauUK and @KaveyF at the time of notification, as this will be sent by Direct Message.
Blog comment entries must provide an email address for contacting the winner.
The winners will be notified by email or twitter. If no response is received within 7 days of notification, the prize will be forfeit and a new winner will be picked and contacted.
This competition is now closed. Winner = Sharon McGuinness (entry via blog).
Lastly, a big wave to a few beer friends, new and old. We met lots of wonderful people at #EBBC12 but our weekend was made particularly enjoyable by the time we spent with Chris Routledge, Chris Wildman (Paganum), Jonas Andersson (Pilsner Nu), Marverine Cole (Beer Beauty), Pete Alexander (Tandleman), Steve Lamond (Beers I’ve Known) and The Ormskirk Baron. Check our their sites for some great beer writing.