On Tues Feb 9th my wife Deb and I were invited to a beer tasting at the Botanist in Temple St along with a few other bloggers, including Bob and Sarah Maxfield who are part of the MBBC where I repost my blogs. Two things I need to say upfront are, one, in the past I had kind of dismissed the place as more of a cocktail and fancy lager bar mainly aimed at a different clientèle to myself and two, it should be noted the beers were free but that doesn’t colour my opinion.
Because of my real job I didn’t get there until after the official tasting, led by Kieran of the New World Trading Company (@BeerGurusNWTC), had begun and so missed the Erdinger and Camden selections, so my first beer was Goose Island Honkers Ale, described as an English style ale done by an American brewer. I quite like Goose Island offerings and this was ok, reasonable balance between malt and hops but unspectacular, whereas Deb just thought it a boring traditional ale. Next up we had an English brewer doing an American style IPA, 13 Guns from Crafty Dan, part of Thwaites Brewery. Got a reasonable hop hit off this one, both in terms of aroma and flavour, and have to say I was pleasantly surprised which says more about me than it does the beer.
To Belgium next for Vedett Extra Ordinary IPA, a very pale blond ipa made using Belgian yeast to give it a certain character, quite light and fruity but a bit gassy and does taste strongish. Moving from light to dark we had Guinness Dublin Porter, which according to its entry on Untappd came from a 1796 recipe….well I’m not sure they should have bothered! It smelt ok but was very thin and fairly tasteless, as Deb said “It promised something but didn’t deliver”. Fortunately our next dark beer was much better, Millionaire from the Wild Beer Co, a dessert stout with cacao nibs and sea salt. Although only 4.7% this is a lush, creamy, full flavoured beer with a salt and malt caramel backbone, but the general consensus was that you wouldn’t want to drink a lot of it. We finished off in Bavaria Germany with a Weizenbock, Schneider Weisse Unser Aventinus (TAP6) which Deb described as wheaty and punchy with a hint of banoffee pie.
So that was just a sample of their range, which after having a look through their beer menu looks quite substantial with a bit of something for everyone. And the tasting session was good, quite informative, Keiran having brought some samples of malt and hops which I thought was a nice touch for those not as geeked up on the subject as myself.
Check out http://thebotanist.uk.com/location/birmingham for more details of their menus, live music and classes.