As an Impact Hub member, the title for this program caught my eye. I love craft beer, cheese and chocolate individually, and all together is even better! Knowing my funds would go to a worthwhile local agency made it easy to commit, and who wouldn’t love such a “unique tasting event” that happens right at my office?
The evening was a joint venture hosted by Impact Hub, featuring Mark McCurdy from Craft Brew England as our tasting guide. Craft Brew England bills itself as “the artisanal life of craft beer in New England and beyond. Your guide to unique events, tours, tips and one-of-a-kind brew schwag. We create events with a focus on #craftbeerforcauses.”
All proceeds from the evening went to FamilyAid Boston’s programs to help homeless families return to housing and stability. FamilyAid Boston works with families at all stages of the journey from homelessness to housing by providing homelessness prevention assistance, emergency shelter and permanent, affordable housing in conjunction with support services. Their goal is for the families they serve to remain housed, stable, and able to provide for themselves long after they leave.
The set-up was colorful and welcoming, and each tasting station had a sheet for personal notes. We had introductions from each partnering agency and then the flavor tasting began. Personally, the two brews from Night Shift Brewing (Cape Codder Weisse and Trifecta) were my favorite, but tastes were varied and there was not consensus in the room. It was an evening full of snacks (cheese and chocolate!), good beers, witty conversation and some learning. I anticipated a prescribed listing of complementary flavors, but this was much more free-form and experiential. Try ‘em together and maybe you’ll like it!
- Smell the beer. The most volatile elements of the beer are in the aroma. This means that as soon as you pour your beer, the faintest and most delicate qualities escape from the liquid very quickly. Therefore, you should immediately take a full, deep smell of the beer before you even take your first sip to really take it all in.
- Use all your senses when tasting beer. Ideally, use your senses of sound and touch to complete the sensory picture: the intoxicating sound of a beer pouring into a glass; the quietness of the foam collapsing on the surface of the beer in a silent room. These are things that can better inform us about the beer we are drinking and simply make the whole experience that much more satisfying. Try this on 3/10, while you have a sip of beer in your mouth, exhale and inhale through your nose to move those flavor and aroma molecules all throughout your throat and nasal cavity to get the full olfactory experience!
- Be observant. Tips don’t have to be difficult, sometime the simpler the better. If you are not being observant, you are likely to miss a great deal of subtleties in the beer. Before you know it, the glass is empty and you can’t remember how it tasted or if you even enjoyed it.
Overall, it was a great way to spend an evening and meet some new friends! Mark’s thoughts? “This was our pilot run with such a structure, and we sold out tickets in less than a week, so we were pleased with the turn out. After receiving feedback, I’m excited to iterate and do similar events in the future to raise money for other causes. It’s always great to be able to share my love of craft beer and food with others. As a homebrewer, beer-aficionado and inspiring philanthropist, I was thrilled with the support!”