Several weeks ago Craft Beer Tasters received an email from Eric Barajas of BEER NERDZ. If you are unfamiliar with who or what BEER NERDZ is wait no more. BEER NERDZ is a San Diego based organization that hosts various craft beer themed events that feature San Diego breweries. They have hosted chocolate truffle pairings, cheese pairings, beer dinners as well private events and tastings. Their signature event, however, is a blind tasting. Eric invited Jerry and myself to one such event. At these blind tastings BEER NERDZ provides guests with a scorecard that details the brewery name, beer name, ABV and IBU’s as well as a brief description of the beer including color, smell, taste and finish. They set up 8 blind stations and it is the guests’ challenge to figure out which beer is which. As Eric put it “It’s a great event for a beer novice as well as connoisseur as the environment is laid back and meant to be fun and educational with a little challenge incorporated.” It sounded like a lot of fun; Challeng Accepted… we were in!
BeerNerdz focuses “on the impressive versatility craft beer has, especially breweries from San Diego. Whether it’s exposing guests to the harmonious relationship craft beer has with artisan cheese or chocolate truffles by hosting pairing events or craft beer themed dinners at a unique neighborhood restaurant. The goal of BEER NERDZ is to educate and expose guests to the rising San Diego craft beer scene by hosting blind tastings. Whether you are a beer novice or connoisseur, participating in a BeerNerdz themed blind tasting challenge is a fun way to get involved and sample some of the amazing beer San Diego is producing.” Yes. This is the commercial description, but I tell you what; it is all true. Moreover, it fits with the Mission & Vision of Craft Beer Tasters to dymystify The Craft Beer Culture.
Last Saturday (9/15/12) Jerry and I headed down to Broadway in The Gaslamp District of Downtown San to The Beer Company, location of the nights’ event. We were excited to be there. First and foremost it’s always fun to try something new, add to that the promise of drinking Craft Beer hosted in the cool and comfy air conditioned Beer Company loft (it was 101 degrees outside); attending this event was a no brainer. However, this event was extra special. As BEER NERDZ put it “in honor of the great state we live in the… event encompassed the whole state of California. We know San Diego has amazing beer and thought it would be fun to compare what some fabulous Northern California breweries are doing.” Awesome premise. How’d it go? Beer NERDZ “matched 4 beers from Northern California with 4 similar style beers from San Diego” in an effort “to see each regions interpretation of a particular style.” Yes, we were stoked about the challenge of the tasting, but we got more than beer out of it.
Craft Beer tends to, in my opinion, attract people that want more out of life. When I first got to the BEER NERDZ’ event I asked various attendees why they were there. There were various answers given, but the one reason EVERYONE gave was “To have fun!” I must admit sometimes when I attend an event, or go to a bar or restaurant I sometimes forget to live in the moment. I think this is something we are all guilty of in some way. I have to “check-in” to this event… I have to take a photo and post it to Facebook x Twitter x Instagram… I need to refresh to see if anyone has commented, RT, liked, favorited, or shared. With all this “connectivity” we become disconnected. One of the BEER NERDZ station servers called me out on my note taking. It was at that moment that I realized that though I was in attendence, I was not present.
I put my pen away, and along with Jerry, chatted it up with our fellow Craft Beer Tasters. You can get beer anywhere. In San Diego this is more accurately explained as you can get good Craft Beer most anywhere in San Diego. Yes, BEER NERDZ offered some AMAZING beers, to be certain, but they provided much more.
Okay, the beers were indeed awesome SAN DIEGO was represented by Speedway Stout by Alesmith, Bad Boy by Alpine, Haisenberg Lager by Beer Co., Freudian Sip by Rough Draft VS. NOR CAL’s Evil Cousin IIPA by Heretic Brewing Co., Grateful Dog Barleywine by Napa Smith Brewery, Old Rasputin Imperial Stout by North Coast Brewing Co., Beer Camp Pilsner by Sierra Nevada Brewing Company. No disrespect to the beers, these beers were all amazing and, normally, here is where I’d make my top pick, go in depth about flavor profiles and other features, but you know what? The beers weren’t the stars that night. The guests were. Folks from all walks of life came together for Craft Beer, true, but really they came to learn, meet people, share stories, and have fun. I got 6 of 8 right on my score card, I had a healthy pour of Alpine’s BAD BOY (my pick of the night ;-D) and met a lot of Craft Beer People. Truth be told, the best part was debating our blind selections, being beer sleuths, and talking about everything inbetween. It’s true what they say Smart People Drink Craft Beer so, yeah, I guess we were all BEER NERDZ that night.
The bottom line: this BEER NERDZ blind taste testing event was a fun time that can be appreciated by the BEER SNOB and NOOB alike. This is a must try event for anyone aspiring to learn more about Craft Beer in a fun and carefree environment.