One of the things very few of my astralian friends have been able to enjoy has been the fruits of my beer brewing endeavours. While I couldn't carry much back to australia with me, I did bring a couple of bottles. To make a day of it, I brought a few cans of local icelandic beer back as well, and arranged a double blind tasting session.
We had three icelandic beers, Viking Gold, Egils Premium and Tuborg Green (Actually Danish, but brewed in Iceland) and three australian beers, VB, XXXX bitter and Toohey's Extra Dry along with a whole heap of plastic cups. Just as well we had lots of cups, because we had too many engineers to work out how to set up a double blind. We got it in the end, and proceeded to have a short tasting session. The aims were,
- Can we tell Australian apart from Icelandic?
- Can we recognise the beers we say we know so well? (XXXX and VB)
- Is anything really actually any better?
Our tasting panel was made up of some well experienced beer drinkers, and our venue the delectable back deck at Warwick's place in Auchenflower. So, how'd we go? Almost universally, we hated beer number 3, Egil's Premium. This is marketed (and priced) as a premium beer in the Icelandic market, and I used to both drink and prefer it myself. I no longer buy it :) Viking Gold and Tuborg Green were both the clear favourites of the Australian tasting team. Warwick mixed up XXXX and VB, much to everyone's amusement. In fact, most of us did pretty badly.
Here's one comment about beer number 5 (VB) "Nasty, bitter, not as bad as #3" and another about the whole spread, "beers 1-5 indistuinguishable, beer 6 sucks less" Basically, nothing excited anyone, least of all the premium beers. We then proceeded to get down to more serious business of burning and eating vast quantities of meat.
Later, back in Iceland, I had the same tasting, with the same beers, with icelandic tasters It's worth comparing the two!