I thought I’d seen it all: festivals, tastings, keep-the-glass nights, et al. However, when fellow native San Diegan Eric Barajas contacted me in late May regarding an upcoming beer education event called BeerNerdz, I knew something was different.
What is BeerNerdz? A tasting event geared towards getting beginners into craft beer while simultaneously testing out the taste buds of craft beer veterans. The then-upcoming tasting, Eric explained , was to be completely void of all pretension. “I wanted a way to incorporate the novice beer drinker as well as the seasoned veteran in a unique, fun, non-intimidating environment. ” I agreed to check out the first official BeerNerdz event on June 4th, 2011.
I can attest that Eric is a man of his word. The event, billed as a San Diego IPA Tasting Challenge, was indeed geared towards all ranges of craft beer drinker. How so? In the VIP lounge area of The Beer Co. there were several tables arranged along the walls. These were stations, distinguished only by numbers and different volunteers. Receiving pours from bottles with the labels removed, guests were invited to visit each station by a well designed scorecard, which contained the beers being poured with RateBeer/Beer Advocate-style reviews of the beer via flavor notes, mouthfeel, and other descriptors. Next to the beers and descriptions were blank lines. The goal was to visit each station, receive a (generous) pour of beer, and pick which beer you thought was each station on the scorecard.
With personal favorites AleSmith X and Alpine Nelson present, I thought I had this one in the bag. I visited each station and confidently made my selection after careful assessment. Delicious snacks by The Beer Co. were provided along with crackers to cleanse the palate between stations. After completing the final station, I signed my name on the scorecard and dropped it in a box for grading. Whoever scores the highest gets cool prizes like t-shirts, gift certificates, and assorted beer paraphernalia. Turns out I didn’t do so well (blind tastings are tough!)
This Saturday, September 17th, marks the third installment of the BeerNerdz Tasting Challenge featuring select San Diegan Ales. The cost is $40, and it’s well worth every penny. For more information, visit the BeerNerdz website. To see pictures from the previous tastings, visit the BeerNerdz facebook page.
Full disclosure: BeerNerdz is an advertiser in September’s West Coaster. The above editorial piece is NOT a part of the advertising deal, and I wrote it to help spread the word about this unique, fun, and worthwhile event.