We were recently invited to attend a beer tasting, where we sampled and rated 25 different beers. We undertook this in a blind sampling, with 5 beers in each category. The brands sampled included James Squire, Matilda Bay, Coopers, Little Creatures, Holgate plus a few others. What really did strike us was the diversity in styles that can be achieved, coupled with the fact that when you begin comparing beers side by side (blind), brands that you've always rated very highly do not necessarily come out on top.
Amongst the tasting panel was Chuck Hahn who is often referred to as one of the God Fathers of brewing in Australia. Chuck was responsible for the Hahn range of beers that hold his name, as well as the James Squire line, plus a number of smaller brands. It was great to have someone so highly regarded in the room – helps for learning more and more about how to taste and dissect beers. As we were analysing the various styles and beers within each style Chuck mentioned to us about the significant differences between a Czech styled Pilsner and a German styled one.
German Pilsners tend to vary greatly from region to region; Bavarian Pilsners for example are typically sweeter and maltier with less hop bitterness than the classic Czech examples and although they are quite delicious in their own right, some are perhaps not best described as pilsners with the term "Helles“ often closer to the mark.