Last week I was invited to my favourite local haunt The Botanist to join in one of their Ale Tasting Masterclasses.  I’m a wine and cocktail girl rather than a beer drinker, so I wasn’t sure whether this was going to be my cup of tea but I was up for finding out.

There were six of us and the session was led by Warren, what Warren doesn’t know about beer, ale and brewing is basically not worth knowing, the beer equivalent of a sommelier also known as a “cicerone”.  Warren explained the brewing process:

Malted Barley + Hops + Yeast + Water = Beer (sounds easy, no?)

We had a smell and taste of the two core ingredients malted barley and hops which was fun and really useful when it got to the tasting, the end result of the brewing process is better than the ingredients – fact!  We pretended to know what we were doing obviously …

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Then it was on with the tasting, now when I say tasting this isn’t like wine tasting where you sip, swirl and spit out.  Oh, no, this ale tasting lark is basically drinking and not thimbles of ale, decent glasses of it.  Drinking with an expert explaining the malt and hops combo’s that have gone into making the ale itself and the stories behind the ales themselves.  I like this ale tasting, I like it a lot!

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So the first ale comes round … and the second … the third … we tried seven ales in total.  I remember particularly liking two local ales Kodiak Gold from Beartown Brewery in Congleton and Wreckless by Red Willow in Macclesfield.  The whole night was a lot of fun, I laughed a lot, made new friends and would definitely order an ale instead of a wine from time to time.

I am surprised to be advocating a bottle of ale over a bottle of vino but I am.  I am converted and an ale tasting session is great thing to do with a group of pals, work colleagues and would even work as part of a recruitment or procurement selection process as a “chemistry session” with others.  It was a really great evening – thank you to Warren and team at The Botanist for inviting me along.

Ale tasting sessions at The Botanist require a minimum of six people and can include various dining options starting at £15 per person.  Visit The Botanist Ale Tasting for full details.