Who is Ted?

I'm the father of two beautiful daughters and an amazing wife. For fun, I enjoy the long hours of seemingly endless suffering that endurance sports (mostly running, cycling and triathlon)provide. During my "down time" I'm an avid beer snob and self-described gourmet chef (in other words I like to burn things on a stove or grill).

Monday, July 29, 2013

Beer Olympics . . . Round 1 (a.k.a.- Battle of the Transportation Beers, get it?)

Cue The Fanfare for the Common Man (or other Olympic inspired music) Round One of the Beer Olympics is in the books.  Last night pitted two Excellent Colorado Brews against one another, and the result wasn't surprising (at least not to me).  The contenders included "Mass Transit Ale" from the Bristol Brewery in Colorado Springs vs. the long standing "Fat Tire" from New Belgium.  Here's how it went down:
Beer A: Mass Transit Ale
In order to remove any preconceived bias that might sway the decision, I enlisted the help of my lovely wife to assist with the process.  She poured each of the selected beers out of my sight, so that I would be able to sample each without knowing which beer I was drinking.   She also provided refills and a glass of water so that I could clear the palette from time to time.  The competition required that each beer be rated on a scale of one to five in four categories: Aroma, Taste, Mouth Feel, and Finish.  Only after careful sampling, and a decision about which beer was preferred, was I told which beer was which.  Until then, they were simply Beer A and Beer B.
Beer A had a great aroma.  Slight honey smell, and quite bright.  The taste of the beer was also very satisfying.  There were some caramel overtones in the malt, but it remained fairly light.  No one flavor really overwhelmed the beer, leaving a nicely balanced taste.  The mouth feel was very crisp, and somewhat light for an amber ale.  Finally, the finish started slightly bitter, and grew stronger.  This was easily remedied with another sip, but the bitterness would linger for several seconds.
Beer B also had an equally nice scent. There were more grassy, lemon-like notes to its aroma.  The taste was remarkable.  Caramel flavors and a deep coppery sensation, but still remarkably balanced.  This was a beer with a combination of flavors that was near-perfect for an amber ale.  Complex, yet not distracting.  The mouth feel was slightly more full-bodied than Beer A, but it remained quite crisp.   There just seemed to be a little more depth to it.  Lastly, the beer had a slightly bitter finish, but unlike Beer A, it dissipated more quickly.
Beer B: Fat Tire
 It took some time to reach a decision about these two.  They both were very close in character, so determining a preference required some patience and careful consideration.  I had to sample both "several times" in order to be fair and objective.  But after contemplating these two for a while, I was finally able to reach a decision.  In terms of aroma, they were both equally pleasing.  This resulted in a tie score.  However, in the other categories of taste, mouth feel, and finish, Beer B got the honors by a small margin.  Both beers were very enjoyable, but in the end I preferred Beer B.  I shared my findings with the Mrs. and she revealed that Beer A was the Mass Transit, while Beer B was the Fat Tire. 
So congratulations to Fat Tire which moves on to the Semi Final Round of the Beer Olympics.  It seems appropriate.  Don't get me wrong, both of these beers are excellent, and I would happily drink a Mass Transit Ale, a fine beer in its own right.  Comparing the two of them however, the Fat Tire tastes a bit more balanced and mature.  In Fat Tire, New Belgium crafted a really fantastic beer that in my opinion (and in this Olympics, it's the one that counts!) is a strong contender for the Finals.  As for Bristol Brewing, I wouldn't be surprised to see them in another round of the Olympics (perhaps for their Compass IPA).
Sticking with the Colorado theme, next up will be a contest between the 90 Schilling and Avalanche Ale.  In the meantime, Happy Drinking!

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