Brewed – promoting the artistry and passion behind craft beer and homebrewing.
Palate – sharing my beer related experiences with the craft beer and homebrewing communities as I continue to enjoy the never ending journey of developing my palate.
I am a 30 year old homebrewer and craft beer enthusiast living in Elizabeth, New Jersey (after 11 years in NYC). My craft beer journey started when I began trying Belgian, German, and other international beers while living in Israel for 2 years after High School (2004-2006). Since then I’ve developed a passion for developing my palate and sharing my experiences with others. This passion has been bolstered and enhanced by my home-brewing which I’ve been doing for 7 years (more consistently over since getting married in July of 2013). That being said my opinion is that each beer (commercial or home-brew) represents a new experience in developing your craft beer palate and not a way to “one-up” your fellow craft beer drinkers. To quote John Holl, editor of All About Beer magazine, “What it really comes down to is enjoying a glass of beer with good company regardless of the beer’s pedigree.” In turn, since shifting my focus to developing my homebrewing skills and knowledge in November 2013, I’ve found that I enjoy the experience of trying new craft beers more because I am no longer worried about whether I’ll be able to try the latest beers that avid craft beer drinkers are clamoring over.
Next, in terms of my palate…Although I am a hophead and India Pale Ale is my favorite beer style, I enjoy drinking pretty much every style under the sun. I have a soft spot for Belgian beers (saison is my favorite belgian beer style), German beers (especially well done pilsners, wheat beers, and doppelbocks), and barrel aged beers; some of which I buy when I’m in the mood for a “treat” or change of pace. I feel that part of appreciating what beer has to offer and developing one’s beer palate means going out of your comfort zone, and trying styles or specific beers you may have not liked that one time a friend let you try a beer that he or she swore was amazing. However, I admit that some styles are an “acquired taste”. The way I choose which beer to drink is by which beer flavor characteristic I am in the mood for e.g. roasty, hoppy, malty, spicy, complex etc. Lastly, at times I feel I need a refresher course and buy a beer from a style that I have not tried in a while, so that I can do my best to avoid getting “stuck” in my comfort zone.
One of the benefits of putting in the effort to develop one’s palate through drinking and brewing craft beer is the ability to gain a deeper appreciation for other handcrafted beverages such as whiskey (whisky) and wine. In addition, one can use his or her ability to pick up on nuanced aromas and flavors in craft beers to do the same while drinking whiskeys, wines, and other handcrafted beverages (spirits etc). This has been a helpful tool in helping me plan menus for meals that I either host or attend and turn friends who usually drink wine etc. on to craft beer through food pairings. In turn, my goal for The Brewed Palate is to share as many of my home-brewing and craft beer experiences with you with hopes to enhance your personal journey through palate development and brewing your best beers. Cheers! (Last updated: 11/18/16).
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My Beer Rating System (1-10 scale):
I chose to use a 1 to 10 scale in order to make my ratings easy to understand, and to use half point increments in order to be as honest as possible with how much I liked or disliked the beer/s being reviewed. So when a beer gets a e.g. 7.5 it means that for me landed somewhere in between a 7 and an 8 (see below for more details).
10: This rating is saved for beers that wow me on all levels (appearance, aroma, taste, mouthfeel, drinkability) and can be considered amongst my favorite beers.
9: Like the 8/10 beers those that get this rating are those that are spot on for their style. Meaning, they fit my preferences for their style seamlessly, and in most cases have an added wow factor in their flavor profile/s. They can also be considered my go-to beers in their respective styles.
8: Overtime you will see me giving beers this rating quite often. This is because to earn an 8/10 a beer has to be “spot on for its style” and successfully display the aim of its brewer. With both these factors in play the beer should have an aroma and flavor profile that keeps me interested from start to finish.
7: These beers are ones that I feel are above average for their style, but lack the wow factor that inspires me to strongly consider purchasing them again at a bar or beer store.
6: Just above the halfway mark of my 1-10 scale are beers that have some interesting flavors, but lack complexity i.e. flavors that stick out as impressive to my palate. They may also be lacking in their appearance, aroma, and mouthfeel characteristics.
5: At this point in my scale the impressionable ability of a beer begins to decline. Though at a 5/10 I might be able to recommend a beer to someone who is new to craft beer or beer drinking in general. I would never recommend a 5/10 to an experienced craft beer drinker.
4: As a craft beer drinker and advocate I hope that no craft beer that I try will be bland or off putting enough to get a 4/10 or lower. In the case of this rating a beer is drinkable, has peeks of likable flavor, and has no off putting characteristics in its aroma and or taste. Having said this, beers from here down will never be recommended unless one is either outdoors on a hot day without access to good beer, or at a party or bar that has no craft beer whatsoever.
3: Drinkable with minimal off putting characteristics e.g. an unappetizing aftertaste. “Fizzy Yellow Beers” – Mass Produced Lagers.
2: On the cusp of being undrinkable.
1: Since I do not have a 0/10 in my scale these beers are undrinkable.