When we were approached to work in partnership with The Botanist to celebrate the opening of The Plant Room by offering one of our followers the chance to win a beer tasting we jumped at the chance. We had a great time when we attended one, you can find Dave’s review here.
The eventual winner was Ian Jewkes, and we are delighted to bring you his review of the night.
So after winning the Midlands Beer Blog /Botanist Competition, the race was on to allocate tickets for free to friends to drink free beer. 8 spaces were allocated, 7 were filled – although it was kind of filled later anyway. So on a warm, sunny, humid day, we all arrived at our rendezvous – The Botanist bar in Birmingham. It’s a trendy bar, serving cocktails, gins and about 80 different beers and ciders. It was 3pm on a Saturday and it was packed with people, always a good sign that bar is doing something right if it’s full.
We tried a few beers, just to get out pallets up to speed. Samuel Adams, Pacific and Passionate Blonde were all consumed by our party – all were given the thumbs up.
At just gone 4pm, we were called down to The Plant Room to begin our beer tasting session. This was its opening day and our prize was to test it out.
Firstly we noticed how nicely air conditioned it was. The décor was great and the staff were very friendly too.
Then our beer guru, Kieran turned up. We all warmed to him immediately and for the duration too. He was informative, and presented the whole thing in a nice easy way. We also invited him to have a few samples with us as our unofficial 8th member of our party.
So, to the most important bit….the beers.
Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier. So we started with this smokey beer – it caught us all by surprise. Andy Hall noticed that it had an aroma of chorizo or something similar. We all tended to agree. Pete Booth and Andy Hall both suggested this would work well with chorizo or smoked cheeses. We then ordered some food of this type and indeed it did work well. Personally I thought it might be nice as an alternative to a whiskey at the end of a meal or after a couple of beers as a nightcap.
Oude Gueze Cuvee Rene. So the second beer arrived and we were warned by our guru that this would be sour. Think champagne in style mixed with beer and cider and I’d have said this was something like that. Out of our 7, only 1 gave it the thumbs up. 65 year old Mick Booth said that he actually felt it cleaned his pallet from the smokey beer and was quite nice.
Schneider Weisse Tap 6.
This stronger, darker beer from Germany was elected to be consumed with the remainder of the food. It’s too dark for me and came in quite strong. There didn’t seem much love for this one at our table, even from Dai Hope, who likes darker beers. It wasn’t one that nobody liked, just wasn’t one that anyone loved either.
This American Pale Ale in a can, seemed to throw some of our party, who don’t normally drink anything from a can. That said, one didn’t like it as it was deemed too hoppy and floral but the rest thought it was ok. I’m getting quite partial to these beers, so found it refreshing.
Beavertown Black Betty.
This Black IPA went down well. It looked heavy and dark, but surprisingly went down well with most of us. I think the colour put most of the pale ale fans, but when they tried it, I think they were all pleasantly surprised.
Einstock Icelandic White Ale.
So this one I’d tried previously. I had already told everyone it was a good beer. When everyone tasted their sample of it, they too loved it. Its fruit, refreshing and has that little bit of something afterwards on your tongue, probably the coriander. Certainly on a hot summers day a winner. Martin Clews thought this one was great. I couldn’t disagree, but I’m biased on this one.
This extra beer, was kindly given to us, so that I could complete my Einstock tasting range, as I’ve also previously tried their pale ale too. Not a dark beer or a porter fan, I wasn’t hoping for much here. In the end, we were all pleasantly surprised with it. Not overpowering or too strong, is has nice flavours. Dale, our ale expert thought it was good and Dai our dark beer fan gave it the thumbs up too.
The food course provided by the Botanist was beautiful. Hams, scotch eggs, piccalilli, Chorizo, breads etc. All really worked and brilliant presented.
So, just for fun we decided to take a vote on the favourite beer. Einstock Icelandic White Ale won with 4 votes. The Einstock Porter next with 2 votes and then, the Beavertown Black Betty with 1 vote. Even though these beers had taken our fancy, the ones we spent the most time talking about though were the smokey Aecht Schlenferla Rauchbier and the sour Oude Gueze Cuvee Rene.
Afterwards we drank a Camden Wit each, which again was similar to the Einstock White and was recommended to us by our guru. This then was followed by another Pacific and Samuel Adams.
Andy thought it was a great day out and wouldn’t hesitate to do it again.
Dai thought it really good, and as it was his birthday, added to his celebrations.
Dale thought it nice to try a varied set of beers.
Martin was over the moon with it. Would definitely do it again and said the whole experience was great.
Pete thought it good and the added bonus of the food when requested really worked with his tasting experience.
Mick as our oldest attendee, thought it a fantastic day out and would recommend to all.
Myself, I thought it was great too. Never tried smokey or sour beers before, so to try those was a real eye opener.
The general feeling was that we would all do this again as it was nice to try the beers and a fun way to spend a few hours together.
Thanks for letting us attend.