Saturday, September 19, 2009

81. Great Divide Samurai Rice

Great Divide’s meteoric climb up our charts might have hit a small bump in the road with our most recent sampling—number seven was certainly not lucky, although this was more circumstantial and rhetorical than because of any problems with the beer. First off, Elli couldn’t smell or taste, so she wasn’t much help. She did dutifully go through the motions like the trooper she is, but with not much success: “What kind of flavor profile do you get with this one?” “Um, malty?” Second, the food pairings on the bottle were more than a bit lame and blasé: “Asian food, seared tuna with sesame seeds, goat cheese.” Run out of ideas on this one? “Hmm, what would go well with a beer named Samurai?” “Um, I don’t know, how about Asian food?” C’mon guys, get your head in the game.

Samurai Rice has a light malt and a light hop nose. While a clear straw yellow, it was a bit hazy from some small bits floating in the beer, and it has a minimal white head. Samurai Rice starts a bit sweet on the front—there is a soft sweetness to the front that tastes like more than just barley. Our (or, in this case, my) taste buds would say the sweetness comes from corn, but going with the name, we’ll go with some rice as the source of it. The turn to the middle brings some bitterness and crispness, and the end has a slight return to sweetness before ending dry and clean. Light-bodied with a well rounded carbonation bite that contributes to the crispness, Samurai Rice’s mouthfeel effectively contributes to the beer’s overall character. Besides the lame food choices on the bottle, there was very little to critique about the beer across the board.

Check out the old school label

From Great Divide’s website: “Samurai is an easy drinking, unfiltered ale that changes the status quo for unfiltered beers. The addition of rice gives Samurai a slightly fruity, crisp, refereshing, and clean taste. This is definitely not your everyday unfiltered beer.”

And I thought I liked adjectives...

ABV: 5.1%

Today also marked the first day of my BJCP (Beer Judge Certification Program) class—10+ weeks of learning and reviewing beer styles, developing my knowledge of the art of brewing, and sampling classic examples in order to understand all of the different beer styles. I can hear all of you already—“Oh, a beer tasting class. THAT must be difficult.” Well, besides blocking out three hours every Saturday morning, let’s see you memorize all of this. Yeah, that’s what I thought. We started with a general overview of the BJCP program, and talked about our collective goals for the next couple of months, leading up to the BJCP exam on December 5th. Oh, and just in case you were wondering, the purpose of the BJCP is to:
1. Promote beer literacy
2. Promote the appreciation of real beer
3. Recognize beer tasting and evaluation skills

Our beer sampling for the day included 1.Light Lager and 2. Pilsners:
1A. Lite American Lager: Sam Adams Light
1B. Standard American Lager: Pabst Blue Ribbon
1C. Premium American Lager: Miller Genuine Draft
1D. Munich Helles: Weihenstephaner Original
1E. Dortmunder: Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold
2A. German Pilsner (Pils): Warsteiner Premium
2B. Bohemian Pilsner: Cvechvar
2C. Classic American Pilsner: no commercial examples available


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