Monday, July 14, 2008

Beer reviewed by Sommeliers

I received a great link to a blog article written in review of Lincoln-ite and Empyrean employee Brendan McGinn's homebrewed Barleywine. I love it when people send me articles that they find so please send them, it keeps this place fresh and not smelling of dead fish. Anyway, so I read the article, always skeptical of Sommeliers takes on beer. I knew this had a shot because he was reviewing a Barleywine and he is a friend of Brendan's.

The reviewer does a great job describing the flavors of the beer as many people with trained palates like his can do so eloquently. Brendan obviously did a wonderful job and deserved a write up so that is awesome, especially to make a wine blog.

I will just point out my pet-peeve with Sommeliers still to this day. While you have to take into account his audience he does all he can to make beer appear to be a secondary beverage. I am certain it was not on purpose but when a line like this is read...

Barleywines can develop remarkably wine-like flavors, with this example showing great aromatic complexity and a layered finish of sage, lilac and crusty rye bread.
I just a sick feeling in my stomach and ponder if we will ever see the day when a Sommelier will ever say...
Cabernet can develop remarkable beer-like flavors, with this example showing great aromatic complexity and a layered finish of sage, lilac and crusty rye bread.
I know, a guy can dream.

I don't mean to go off on a tangent and I am not disparaging the article in any regard, well maybe in a sarcastic regard, these things just always get to me. I love wine and love all that it can offer, but I have gotten to the point where wine can trump beer only on a few occasions and they usually involve moments with my wife because that is her poison of choice and she can't down a bottle on her own.

Well, enjoy the article and major props to Brendan and thanks to Jesse Becker for writing the article, a former Lincoln-ite himself.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Maybe Empyrean will let him brew a batch of it there...

nickspies said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
nickspies said...

Yes, I would like to see that too. Maybe a Lincoln resident can let us know: Has Empyrean ever brewed a barley wine?

Jesse said...

Hi Nate, I just came across this board and discovered your note. It's true that beer is often an afterthought for many (especially old-school) sommeliers and I'm sure that my descriptors can seem a little flowery at times. The selection and service of beer is a crucial element to any successful beverage program and beer has become an increasingly important part of the modern sommelier's curriculum. I happen to be an avid beer drinker, and while I don't claim to know as much about it as you and your colleagues on this board, I am constantly working to improve my beer knowledge and beer tasting experience. Sommeliers need to be skilled at describing what they taste, and I'm currently working towards improving my "right brain" tasting skills, so that in the future I'll rely less on the innocuous, and sometimes silly, imagery commonly used to describe wine, beer, and spirits. I appreciate your comments and I invite you to post directly onto my blog in the future so we can all learn from each other. Thanks for your comments!

Nate B. said...

Thanks for posting Jesse. I had to go back and read my post, lol. I am still working at this blog thing and man that article was riddled with spelling and grammatical errors, oh well. Ha!

It appears you got my sarcasm in the article. You are correct too, I was speaking mainly of stalwart sommeliers as opposed to the progressive ones. I don't mind the "flowery" descriptors for beer or wine. I just was commenting on your use of wine as a descriptor for beer. Like I said in the article, I am guessing that was in there because you are writing for mainly a wine audience.

Good stuff and glad you found us!