Sunday musings while awaiting the Eagles NFL opener and two, count ‘em two, Phillies-Mets games on the tube. The beer will flow today.

What I suspect was one of the more interesting beer events in quite a while (stretching the definition of “event” a tad) itook place in Wilmington Friday when Iron Hill was kind enough to invite “a few of our friends” to join them while they selected which of their specialty beers will be sent to GABF.

The gathering took place at IH’s headquarters (a lot of people still don’t know that the company is based in Delaware) and chose a quarter of the beers that the company will send to Denver, in a blind tasting. This annual tradition involves any or all of the brewers submitting his version of a chosen style or styles from the list that the company submitted to the Brewers Association last month and has always been a closed door affair until now. “We have always felt some of the stiffest competition has sometimes been in that room, rather than in Denver,” Mark Edelson wrote in his invitation.

This year, the seven locations competed in 11 categories with between two and ten beers in each. I was unable to make it but I know that His Lew-ness was supposed to go and I presume/hope he will write about it. As a masochist, I like to periodically punish myself with stories of the good stuff I missed. This is far and away a better than than punishing myself with things I did, I must confess.

Speaking of blind tastings, I blurted out during a conversation the other day (and think I actually believe but I’m still a bit conflicted, another form of masochism) the concept that, in any vertical blind tasting, the two highest rated beers will always be the oldest one and the youngest one. This clearly posits that all the beers are within an appropriate range (i.e., neither over the hill nor tasted before their time). My argument was that, if the beer was one suitable for aging, the one aged under appropriate conditions will always be developing toward some maximum level of taste and complexity, and the one which is newest and freshest will be, the newest and freshest, and that latter quality is one of the ideal characteristics in beer (that’s why we love brewpubs, right?).

What do you folks think?

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