“It tastes like licking a key that’s been touched by a load of people”- on that bombshell, porter number 3 was making an unspectacular entrance into February’s Beer of the Month competition. Unsurprisingly, it went on to finish a distant last in this, the first half of February’s enlarged competition, but what of the others?
As in all good scientific trials, the 4 contenders were tasted blind, identities revealed only as the dust settled on the final votes from the tasting panel. In alphabetical order, Saturday night’s foursome were:
Krajan Bearnard Porter (9.0%)– previously unknown, but eye catching in its paper wrapping, featuring an actual bear.
Ciechan Porter nr. 22 (9.0%) – limited edition variation on Ciechan’s standard porter, which will feature in the second quartet
Cornelius Baltic Porter (8.1%) – Cornelius produce some fine wheat beers, could the dark stuff live up to their standards?
Żywiec Porter (9.5%) – one of the few big names here in Poland still producing a porter in addition to the ubiquitous lager.
As we were at a party, the original round robin league table idea was thrown out in favour of the quicker, less anti-social, knockout format. So it was to be number 1 vs number2, 3 vs 4 and then a quick retaste of the victors to choose the champ to go through to the grand final against the winner from the second 4 later in the month.
The first semi-final was a close call, number 1 missing out in a split decision as 3 of the 5 decided the slightly sweeter second beer was more to their liking, though personally I was one of the two favouring the longer lasting, fuller flavour of number 1. In contrast, the next pairing was a rout- a unanimous victory for number 4’s hints of chocolate over the key-licking goodness of number 3.
The scene was set for the final showdown, one or two of the panel already a little worse for wear (on reflection, using 6.5% Tatra Mocne as a palate cleanser wasn’t our greatest decision). That, plus the fact that several minds were already made up- one panel member was repeating 4,2,1,3 as his overall placings before eventually being persuaded to bother trying the finalists again- gave it something of an anticlimactic air. Another walkover ensued, a 5-0 verdict in favour of what subsequently was revealed to be Bearnard Porter. The final standings were as follows:
Bearnard Porter (a thoroughly deserved victor, two 5-0 trouncings)
Baltic Porter (controversial runner up, further evidence of democracy’s flaws)
Ciechan nr. 22 (second to last, but still well worth a try)
Żywiec Porter (like the taste of well-pawed metallic objects? Nor did we)