Recently at West Vail Liquor Mart, we have become a big fan of the blind tasting. Not only can blind tastings be a lot of fun while you try to guess what you might be tasting, they can also really be pretty informative and give you information you might not otherwise have picked up on. So, what is a blind tasting anyway? Simply it is when you try an array of anything (for our purpose, usually booze) without knowing specifically what you are consuming.
Why would you do such a thing? Well, there are a few reasons. First of all, as consumers we are all bias about certain brands, certain styles and what we like. However, when we boil it down to no packaging your brain is forced to make decisions based solely on taste. You may find, for instance, that that product you always broke the bank to buy has some good cheaper substitutes. You may find that your favorite beer may be influenced by a flashy or cool label or an elevated reputation. Another reason to try a blind tasting might be to test your senses and try to work on being a better taster. I know personally I get a kick out of trying to identify flavors. I think that maybe the best reason to try a blind tasting is to have fun. It can be a really great social activity and can break the mold from your run of the mill social drinking experience. It gets people talking about flavors, guessing what they are drinking, and thinking a lot more about what they are drinking.
Our staff has recently begun a series of blind tastings of IPA beers. The first round was just completed with the winner being Breakside IPA, which is available at West Vail Liquor Mart in a nice 22oz format for an affordable $6.99/bottle. We will eventually determine the overall winner after a few more rounds. I will, in a later blog, explain the results of this process. I have some advice with the experience of hosting this blind tasting that will help you if you want to try it at home.
Steps to set up your own blind tasting:
1: Get as many identical glasses as you need
2: With small pieces of paper taped to the bottom of each glass, label each with a number (#1-4 for instance)
3: Pour your product into glasses and record on a piece of paper or phone which number correlates with each beer
4: Have someone else in your group mix up the order of the glasses so you can participate without knowing the order
5: Have everyone rate the product on a scale from 0-5 including intervals of .25
6: Total up the scores and take an average
7: Reveal what each beer was and enjoy your results!
– Dean LoRusso, Beer Buyer, West Vail Liquor Mart