Something different….

I’m usually all about Stouts, but my business travels have taken me to Burlington, Vermont over the past couple of years.  Aside from being an incredibly beautiful place, Vermont is also a beer mecca and Burlington is right in the middle of the action.  I was able to visit the hallowed Beverage Warehouse in Winooski, where I spent considerable time roaming the aisles.  Thanks to the Bevvy, I can now proudly state that I have stood in line for Heady Topper there – I was able to buy a case – and proceeded to pack it carefully in my suitcase for the trip home.  Thankfully, my friends at Delta didn’t search my luggage that day!

Thanks to my travels to Burlington, I now have a connection (thanks Darren!).  I recently traded some excellent North Carolina stouts and IPAs for some Heady Topper, Second Fiddle, and a can of the elusive Lawson’s Sip of Sunshine, as well as some local Vermont stouts.  Since I had three of the best IPAs around, I took the opportunity to conduct a blind taste test along with my 2 sons.  My wife was our bartender and she each gave us a small glass of Heady, Second Fiddle, and SoS.   I know our friends at The Alchemist counsel us to drink Heady straight from the can, but that would have compromised the blind part of the test, don’t you think?

I must say that I was surprised at the results.  Out of the three, I had only tasted Heady Topper before, so I was feeling confident that I would be able to pick Heady out of the three.  Boy was I ever wrong!   My sons and I compared and contrasted the three – the aroma, the taste, the aftertaste, the color, the mouthfeel- and each of us wrote down our preferences in order.  Trying to find fault in these three beers is near to impossible – it was more about taste preferences and being closer to perfection than finding fault.  But doing a side by side by side taste test requires you to rate and rank the beers.

To the Fiddlehead team – congrats!  Second Fiddle was the winner, followed closely by Lawson’s Sip of Sunshine and Heady Topper.  Not exactly what I expected!  All three of them are incredible beers.  After sending my boys back to South Carolina and college (respectively) each with a can of Second Fiddle and a can of Heady, I’m looking forward to enjoying my last can of Second Fiddle!    When summer comes, I’m going to find a way to add a bottle of Pliny the Elder to the taste test!

A couple of takeaways from the sampling:

  1. I really enjoyed doing this with my two boys (both of legal drinking age for the record).  I tried to convey the concept of tasting and sampling beer for enjoyment versus drinking beer to drink beer.  That’s one of the reasons I like stout beer so much – more on that in a future post!
  2. Comparing like beers is not an easy task!  It really takes some concentration to consider the all of the tasting parameters.  It was really fun (and eye-opening) to see that my expectations were blown away.

Have you ever been surprised by a blind taste test?  Tell us about your experience!2016-01-01_010027874_B1D53_iOS




Published by stoutwhisperer

I am a regular guy with an irregular affinity for all things Stout related. I enjoy sampling, reviewing and writing about Stouts for my blog,

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