My first real beer festival was at the Penn Brewery in Pittsburgh Pa. It was a magical session of tasting a cornucopia of different beer styles and flavors, all produced in Pennsylvania. I made a mental note of all the beers and styles that I enjoyed best so that I could buy or try to clone them later that year. I was having such a good time I decided I didn’t have the time to wait in line for the free lunch. Things got hazy near the end and I remember sleeping draped across an ottoman back at my house for several hours. I was also greeted by an outstanding 10 pm hangover that kept me awake until the early morning. What beers did I enjoy most from that excursion? Hell if I know.
The gentlemen over at 33beers.com got it right when they created their beer journal. If you’ve every gone to a beer festival with intentions of finding styles or brands you would buy again, you’ve found that by the end of the festival your memory has failed you (for some reason).
The 33beers Beer Journal is a compact booklet that can fit in your back pocket. Aside from general notes and ratings this journal incorporates a unique ‘flavor wheel’ that allows you to visually represent how the beer tastes to you. This is important because it’s easier to fill in some dots on the Flavor Wheel while on your 20th sampler rather thank trying to make a note of or god forbid remember the characteristics of the beer.