Blind Taste Test: Lager Style

Last week, Holy Mountain, a popular Seattle brewery, released a few limited-stock beers that I was fortunate to buy before they ran out. The first was a double IPA, hazy as the day is long and delicious by all standards of flavor. Yum.

The second, interestingly enough, was a helles lager called Second Death.

My friends and I have always joked that lager releases were a little weird because, as we like to say, “a lager’s a lager, how good can it get?” We say that for good reason, since lagers are, by most standards, pretty similar to each other without much diversity (especially when compared to ales).

Devon, in his infinite wisdom, brought up that it would be funny to do a side-by-side comparison between Second Death another lager – one of our favorite lagers, to be exact.

Montucky Cold Snacks.

Yes, there is an obvious difference in quality between the two. Second Death was a limited-release lager that was $18 for a four pack, and it has subtleties that only high-caliber lagers posess.

A six pack of Montucky Cold Snack 16 oz. beers is $5.99 if you shop it right.

Anyway, we decided that a blind taste test was a good idea. We brought in James, Franny and Colin to diversify our palates and added Olympia as a third beer (so if it came down to guessing it wasn’t just 50-50).

We had a neutral third party pour each of us the three beers in cups with numbers on the bottom, so we couldn’t even discuss the flavors among each other. We quickly guessed which was which…and it wasn’t pretty.

Fortunately, nobody got all three beer guesses wrong…but you can see the results below:

This graphic tells you two things:

  1. I can’t make graphics very well.
  2. We (except for Franny) are very bad at differentiating beer.

If you can’t decipher this, I’ll spell it out: everywhere someone got a green check mark, they guessed the corresponding beer correctly. A red X means that they mistook the beer for the other beer marked with a red X.

For example, I thought Oly was a Cold Snack, and vice versa.

What does this blind taste test tell us about the true complexity of Second Death compared to the mass-market appeal of Olympia? Nothing! It was just a fun thing to do.

And, for the record, I knew which one was the expensive lager right off the bat. I’ve got the taste.

Thomas Short
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