Despite the overwhelming success of my first attempt, I decided that it would be in the best interest of those folks who take the time to read these reviews if I actually knew what I was doing. I popped "how to review beer" into Google, and came up with this article at beeradvocate.com. The following review was written using their advice.
1) Stop, think and drink!
Knowing that Chris wouldn't be attending, I decided to try out his favorite, Bell's Oberon Ale, as a warm-up beer. No need to stop or think on the warm up beer, right?
The thing is, the only time I drink is at HBG (or KOTBR) meetups, so one beer is usually just enough to cloud my thinking. By the time I was about halfway through beer number two, we decided to review the Oberon.
Wait! I hadn't stopped or thought.
2) Respect brewers
Ok. Respect, Brewers. But go Cardinals.
3) Form your own opinion
You might be surprised how hard this is to do when you're drinking with a group of folks who are all sharing their opinion of a beer. In order to form my own opinion, I try to not listen to anyone except myself. I'm pretty good at that, anyway.
4) Keep style in mind
I was wearing a black sports watch with brown shoes. The beer wasn't wearing shoes.
Apparently I lost mine, at some point. More about that in a moment...
6) I've formed my own opinion to skip every other step except...
7) What to look for
This gets broken down like this:
Appearance: The beer had a cloudy amber tint. Light got through... but the beer wasn't clear enough to see through the glass.
Smell: Oberon has a very light sweet smell, maybe a little bit fruity, but indeterminate as far as a specific fruit.
Taste: You know those Budweiser commercials where George Clooney does the voice over and he says things like "Budweiser is a full bodied American ale that tastes like Jesus' own supply of magical (hops, yeast, malt, barley, whatever) grown in fields fertilized with the manure of magical horses"... He sells it really well, right? And then you drink the beer and it's sort of like "I'm not tasting the magical horse crap.. wait.. yeah I am."
Bell's Oberon is the beer he's actually talking about. It tastes like what a good American style beer should taste like. A full bodied, truly tasty Budweiser. Without the MHC.
Mouthfeel: Light. Like any light beer you've drank.
Drinkability: Easy. Too easy.
It's at this point that my notes read like the tracklist for a Bob Seger EP:
Trashed in an hour.
Man, I'm gonna feel dumb tomorrow.
I only had four.
Chased with a Carmel Macchiato and PB and J.
I went to bed regretting everything I had ever done, but woke up the next day ready to go to work without any problems. Is this a miracle beer? Perhaps.
I give it 3.5 mugs. Not my favorite, but a trustworthy standby.