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Cheap vs. Expensive Blind Tasting

    It must be said, I love blind tastings. Taking away the pre conceptions about a beer really can be an eye-opener, and new favourites can be found without having the labels or reputations of the beers to go by. This tasting was different from the others I’ve held, as these beers were separated by price as well as style. We did four rounds, with 3 beers in each. The aim of the tasting was to have one beer worth around 20kr, one at around 40kr and one that cost roughly 60kr in each round. If it was a big can (such as a 44cl) then I took down the price to the same level it would have been if it had been sold as a 33cl can. I also tried to keep the level of alcohol as similar as possible in each round, so results wouldn’t be as skewed by that. The guests then voted on which was the best beer, to see if the price of the beer really impacted how good it was. The results were pretty interesting!

    The first round was an IPA round, with saw Belhaven Brewery “Twisted Thistle” (20kr) face off against O/O Brewing “Cichi West Coast IPA” (36kr) and Wylam Brewery “Jakehead Super Charged IPA” (70kr for a 44cl, so 53kr if it was a 33cl). The clear winner in this round by a big margin was Jakehead, with the guests remarking about the thick body, citrus and mango notes and the drying, fruity aftertaste. Cichi was second and Twisted Thistle was way, way back with only 2 votes. So in the first round, the most expensive beer won!

    The sour beer round was next up, with Tempel Bryggeri “Isotonic Gose” (20kr) battling with Stigbergets “Summer Wine” (38kr) and PangPang Brewery “Piña Colada Preacher” (60kr). This round was rather more split, but the winner was Summer Wine, due to its red berry notes, thick body and light sourness. A close second was Piña Colada Preacher, and last by quite a margin was Isotonic. In this round, Stigbergets offering reigned supreme, so the most expensive did not win this round.

    The third round was the Hazy IPA round, which I thought was the hardest round as they were all pretty similar in aroma and taste. There were of course differences though, and in this round the middle beer again was triumphant. In third place was Nya Carnegie “Neon IPA” (26kr), with Fermenterarna “Burrito Burrito DNEIPA” (57kr for a 44cl, so 43kr if it was a 33cl) coming in a close second to the winner. Strangely enough, the winner of this round was also Stigbergets with their “This Must Be The Haze” (35kr), noted for its powerful tropical aroma backed up with a robust papaya, moss and pine bitterness. So for the second time in the tasting, it was the middle priced beer that won.

    The final round was the strongest, as it contained three imperial stouts. The expensive Clown Shoes “Snow on the Maple Tree” (69kr) was the runaway winner, followed by Helsingborgs Bryggeri “What If” (41kr) and lastly Jämtlands Bryggeri “Baltic Imperial stout” (26kr). The Snow on the Maple Top was absolutely amazing, with deep maple syrup, oak and vanilla notes leaping from the glass in both aroma and taste. Once again, the most expensive beer won the round.

    So after 12 beers we have some results and it was quite interesting to see. In each round, the cheapest beer came bottom, with the most expensive and middle priced beers both winning 2 groups each. I would say the biggest winner from this tasting was Stigbergets, as both of their beers won the groups whilst still being very reasonably priced. I think the Stigbergets Summer Wine sour my favourite beer in the tasting and I think I’ll be ordering some of these for myself! In this test overall though, it really does seem like you get what you pay for. I was hoping that the cheaper beers would pull through and win at least one round, but it was not to be on the night. I thought the tasting was fascinating, though, hearing everyone’s opinions and thoughts. Furthermore, I’m looking forward to doing another blind tasting in 2024!