I got a special invitation to join MadTree in a session ale tasting and hear a special announcement. What follows part 1 of 2, with part 2 coming at a soon but as of yet undetermined time.
I’ve known that MadTree does these types of things often as a regular course of business, and I’ve been giving the guys there a hard time about an invitation for years now. Though I was hoping for a barrel aged stout or sour tasting, I’m not going to complain about a session ale tasting. 🙂
Session Ale Tasting
This tasting isn’t just six people hanging around drinking beer; I mean… it is, but it’s also a lot more. First off the beers are blind. That means one person is assigning a letter or number to each beer, and that same person is pouring them for the other people. So we had no idea which beer we were drinking, just that they were session ales. About a week before we voted on which beers to include, so I knew Founders All Day IPA, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, and Fat Head’s Sunshine Daydream would be there along with a session pale ale from MadTree, but I had no idea which was which.
Even then it’s not just a group of people hanging around drinking beer blind. We were encouraged to take notes about each beer and received the following tips on tasting the beer.
The bit about swirling the cup counterclockwise may seem dumb and irrelevant, but Brady Duncan, one of the owners of MadTree, pointed out that having a specific thing like going counterclockwise, helps set your brain into the mindset of focusing on tasting the beer.
Having gone through training for, and judging many, BJCP events, I found some interesting comparisons. The biggest of which is that MadTree doesn’t focus on appearance or body. I also thought the quicker scoring system was interesting. But when you’re picking a favorite out of five beers instead of trying to find the best of ten to thirteen beers and providing critical feedback for someone to improve their homebrewing, you can get away with less info. The biggest difference with MadTree though was that it was purely a “which do you like best” not “which adheres most closely to the style and doesn’t present any obvious flaws” that the BJCP uses.
After going through those steps with each sample, we ranked the beers from 1 to 5, best to worst.
The package date for all beers tasted was between 11/18/15 and 1/7/16, though, as I’ve shown before, this time range may not matter that much.
The voting results and package dates were:
- MadTree PSA 12/28/15
- All Day IPA 11/18/15
- Sunshine Daydream 12/28/15
- Zen 1/7/16
- Sierra Nevada 11/23/15
My votes went for
- Founders All Day IPA
- Fat Head’s Sunshine Daydream
- MadTree PSA
- Rhinegeist Zen
- Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
I didn’t take detailed notes on all the beer, but All Day IPA had a strongly citrus forward character that I enjoyed more than the other ones.
Yet again, this wasn’t just a bunch of people sitting around drinking beer. MadTree invited us all down for a few reasons, one of which was to show how they taste beers, one of which I can’t wait to tell you about at that as of yet undetermined time, and the currently most important one of which was to announce the official launch of MadTree PSA!
I knew some session/pale ale was coming from them for many months as they’ve been rolling through some experimental pale ales. PSA itself has been available in the tap room for at least a month or two.
That’s all I can say about that for now, but please sign up for email notifications (on the left sidebar), follow us on Twitter, or Facebook, so you can get notified of when I can finally notify of you of some other, dare I say shocking news that may disturb some people, MadTree news.