Ques­tion of taste for trainee beer buff

Marlborough Midweek - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - PAULA HULBURT

New Zealand’s new­est beer buff-in-train­ing is putting in the hard yards when it comes to job prepa­ra­tion.

An­drew Wat­son, of Blen­heim, formed part of the ex­pert judg­ing panel at the re­cent New World Beer and Cider Awards in Welling­ton. The as­so­ci­ate judge gave his palate a good work­out as he joined some of the best beer and cider afi­ciona­dos in the coun­try.

He hopes to one day join the ranks as a fully-fledged judge.

The New World Blen­heim

‘‘We re­ceived train­ing in iden­ti­fy­ing dif­fer­ent styles of beer and cider and what char­ac­ter­is­tics to look for in a qual­ity beer.

‘‘We also com­pleted a blind tast­ing,’’ says An­drew, who has worked at the store for 10 years as a sys­tems ap­pli­ca­tion and pro­gram­ming as­sis­tant man­ager and re­cently part-time in the liquor depart­ment.

This year’s awards saw 595 en­tries from 94 brew­eries from around New Zealand and the world. For Wat­son, the process was a valu­able in­sight into the in­dus­try.

‘‘To re­fine one’s palate, it is im­por­tant to try a wide range of food and beer and cider to ex­pand your knowl­edge of flavours.

‘‘Aroma is also im­por­tant — you should take the op­por­tu­nity to smell as many dif­fer­ent things as pos­si­ble, so you are fa­mil­iar with a wide range of ways to de­scribe the aro­mas of each beer and cider.

‘‘It is im­por­tant to keep a clean palate dur­ing judg­ing, so you should avoid eat­ing any­thing too spicy. You can use neu­tral foods such as bread and crack­ers dur­ing the tast­ing and wa­ter is es­sen­tial through­out.

‘‘I have tasted al­most all the craft beers and ciders that we stock at New World Blen­heim, which has helped,’’ he says.

PHOTO: SCOTT HAM­MOND/STUFF

Beer ex­pert An­drew Wat­son was cho­sen as an as­so­ci­ate judge for the New World Beer and Cider Awards.

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