I'm finally starting to process the info I brought back from the Craft Brewers Conference. Just like last year, Jane and I learned a lot and had a great time. If you're looking for inspiration and controversy, you can watch the welcome reception video here. If you'd like to learn something geeky, you can check out the Draught Beer Quality Manual here.
The following week, I brought two bottles of Belgian Blond to an MHTG social meeting and received some very interesting feedback. Club members' reactions to the first bottle were overwhelmingly positive, but the second bottle received a lot of comments like "this is way too phenolic - maybe it's because I'm not big into Belgian beers." One guy thought he was drinking beer from two separate batches. Once his second sample warmed up, he realized what was going on and pointed it out to me. I learned two things that evening:
1. My ice pack is a bit overzealous.
2. Near-freezing temperatures enhance the perception of phenolic flavors. Big time!
When I'm a crotchety old brewmaster, I hope I can still say that continuous improvement is more important than my ego.