Once again, I spent the evening attempting to broaden my taste palate when it comes to beer....and what happened two days later?  I ordered the Bud Light.  Haha!  At least I'm consistent!

While I still may be searching for my beer style of choice, I really enjoyed this beer tasting class at LivingSocial's 918 F Street event headquarters.  The beers were okay, but the education was fantastic!  The class was led by Greg Engert, beer sommelier for the Neighborhood Restaurant Group that owns some great restaurants in the D.C. region - Rustico, Birch and Barley, Churchkey, and several others. He shared his wealth of knowledge on the fascinating history of beer and how he works to promote craft beer -- making it accessible by organizing the flavors into understandable categories.  Some of these categories include: tart and funky, fruit and spice, smoke, hop, malt, roast, and crisp.  He says he likes to find the flavor note that will be least appreciated by the drinker and label it as that, in order to minimize the chance of someone ordering something they hated.

The tasting line up for the night:

1. Jolly Pumpkin Bam Noire
  • Flavor Category: Tart & Funky
  • Beer Name: Bam Noire
  • Brewery/Origin: Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales, Michigan
  • Style/ABV: Saison - Dark/4.3%
  • What it really tasted like to me....a tangy nut
2. Schlenkerla Weizen
  • Flavor Category: Smoke 
  • Beer Name: Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Weizen
  • Brewery/Origin: Brauerei Heller-Trum, Germany
  • Style/ABV: Hefeweizen/5.2%
  • What it really tasted like to me....beef jerky, maybe teriyaki beef jerky
3. Stillwater Cellar Door
  • Flavor Category: Fruit & Spice
  • Beer Name: Cellar Door
  • Brewery/Origin: Stillwater Artisinal at DOG Brewing, Maryland
  • Style/ABV: Saison - Blond/6.6%
  • What it really tasted like to me....bitter
4. Victory HopDevil
  • Flavor Category: Hop
  • Beer Name: HopDevil
  • Brewery/Origin: Victory Brewing Company, Pennsylvania
  • Style/ABV: American IPA/6.7%
  • What it really tasted like to me....fruity wine
5. Pearl Necklace Oyster Stout
  • Flavor Category: Roast
  • Beer Name: Pearl Necklace Oyster Stout
  • Brewery/Origin: Flying Dog Brewery, Maryland
  • Style/ABV: Dry Stout/5.5%
  • What it really tasted like to me....espresso and bitter chocolate.  They brewed this with oysters in it!
6. Duck-Rabbit Doppelbock
  • Flavor Category: Malt
  • Beer Name: The Duck-Rabbit Doppelbock
  • Brewery/Origin: The Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery, North Carolina
  • Style/ABV: Dunkles Doppelbock/8.5%
  • What it really tasted like to me....molasses
7. Tuppers Keller Pils
  • Flavor Category: Crisp
  • Beer Name: Tuppers' Keller Pils
  • Brewery/Origin: Tuppers' Hop Pocket Beers at St. George Brewing, Virginia
  • Style/ABV: Kellerbier-Zwickelbier/5.0%
  • What it really tasted like to me....lemon or grapefruit.  My favorite of the night!
Doug Engert is a recent James Beard Award nominee and one of Food & Wine's Sommeliers of the Year.  He is part of the group opening up a new brewery, called Bluejacket, in Washington D.C.'s Southeast Waterfront.