For the 2015 slate, Mirella Amato, the show’s longtime host, has come up with a format that varies from the previous years’ formula of having two brewmasters on for an interview. Instead she has invited a pair of beer bloggers to join her in the studio each month and we’ve talked about and blind tasted a specific style of craft beer.
All four of my trips to podcast land (we tape two episodes at a time, so that’s eight total) have been great fun. The most recent one, with beer writer Jordan St. John, so much so that it has inspired me to write about the experience.
For the first episode of each doubleheader, Mirella puts the same mystery beer down in front of both of us and we get to ask her six yes-or-no style questions before taking a guess at the brewery and name of the beer. (Always from an OCB member.)
Obviously, blind tasting limits the significant influences brand and packaging have on how we perceive beer characteristics. It’s even more remarkable how much differently we talk about beers when they’re tasted them blind. I don’t mind contradicting the hive mind’s opinion on a particular beer, but, at least in a small way, I always have the “have I reviewed this beer recently?” question in the back of my head.
While Jordan and I were guessing during the first pale ale episode, I couldn’t resist the temptation to think and talk about the can we couldn’t see. You don’t need me to tell you how important brand and packaging are to any product, but as the market for beer grows and diversifies in Ontario it will only become more critical. Young consumers don’t seem to have the same emotional connection our parents did to a beer brand’s collection of tenuous values, so even if the influence is only subconscious a well-designed can wrap in a fetching shade of blue can’t hurt us spot a particular option when we’re after something new and interesting.
- Head over to the OCB website to listen to Mirella, Jordan and me in Pales in Comparison; and
- then the sequel, More American Pale Ales.
What other good beer podcasts are out there? Good Beer Hunting is at the top of my list because they combine top-tier interview subjects with a slickly produced format. This works well when they have someone on who I know almost nothing about (brewers of Costa Rica), but I’d love for Michael Kiser to be more of an advocate for consumers and drinkers when his guests present the producers’ perspective as gospel truth (Garrett Oliver).