Question of taste for trainee beer buff
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.
Beer expert Andrew Watson was chosen as an associate judge for the New World Beer and Cider Awards.