Smile Politely

Common Ground knows beer

Listen to the sounds of beer as you browse the photos:
[[mp3 common_ground_beer]]
Common Ground Food Co-op offers a variety of classes that you can take, as a member or non-member. As a non-member Wednesday’s beer tasting class was $15, for members it was $10. That entry fee included tastings of five beers, some take home charts and papers, and a lesson in tasting and how the beer was made that spanned over an hour and a half. 
Andrea Stewart was my beer guide and she did a very nice job explaining not only how beers are made and how that affects their color, taste, and smell but she  was also knowledgable about beer culture and economics. She was able to field nearly every question the crowd dished out. 
Some interesting factoids:
  • What does “imperial” mean? It means that there is a higher than usual alcohol content in the beer. Imperial can be applied to any style of beer. 
  • Once a cider’s alcohol content rises to a certain level it is then considered a Champagne and has to be taxed and distributed under Champagne rules and regulations. Stewart believes there is going to be a cider revolution where cider makers will make high alcohol content ciders but keep their independence from Champagnes. 
  • In order to sell a beer commercially the name and recipe has to be approved by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). The TTB checks the recipe against the name and decides whether it can truly be considered a certain style like stout, cider, or imperial. Beer makers and TTB sometimes go back and forth over many drafts before coming to an agreement.

The session was fun and informative. People asked a lot of questions pertaining to how to describe the beer. It was an environment of light hearted learning that everyone seemed to enjoy.

The next beer tasting class will be February 13th, from 4-5:30 p.m. Sign up here

All photos and recordings by Sam Logan.

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