Do I like all beer? Well, most beers – there are one or two exceptions. Do I like ALL Beer? Well, yes actually. The ALL Beer Experience is an “interactive guide to beer” – the ALL element refers to the fact that the guide covers the 3 most common types of beer – Ale, Lager and Lambic. It’s an introduction to the range of beers that are available, along with their more notable characteristics, and explains the brewing process and ingredients, and how each of these is used to produce a range of beer styles. I originally saw an article about it in an issue of “First Draught”, the magazine of the Fuller’s Fine Ale Club (if you aren’t already a member, go to the Fuller’s web site and sign up for free). I thought it would be a good way to acquire a basic understanding of beers and brewing, and it certainly seems to fit the bill. If you know a lot about beer, you might find some of it a bit simplistic, but I think anyone can learn from it.
The kit consists of a hardback, spiral-bound colour book and an “experience pack” that contains a tasting glass, some barley and malt samples and a “scratch and sniff” card with hop aromas – a simple but quite effective introduction. The book also has a section for the “tickers” where you can make notes on the beers you taste and give them a score – not really my cup of tea, but a useful insight into the criteria that are used to judge beers. It has all been produced by Alex Barlow, who has loads of experience in the brewing industry.
I have to say that it isn’t particularly cheap – £19.95 (plus £3.95 P&P in the UK) – or £28.74 plus P&P if you want a kit with 2 experience packs. Mind you, considering you get a rather nice glass and a hardback book it isn’t that bad. And no, I don’t get any commission!