Hoist a mug and toast a historical home

Hoist a mug and toast to the continued well-being of a historical home during the second annual World of Beers tasting event March 13 at the Vincent House, 824 Third Ave. S.

The international beer-sampling event will offer six different varieties of the favored fermented beverage as a means to raise funds for maintenance projects, as well as creating an opportunity for an enjoyable social evening.

“It was a lot of fun last year,” said Merrily Dixon, chairman of the Vincent House Events Committee. “So we knew we wanted to do it again this year.”

Sampling stations will be set up in the mansion’s parlor with a member of the committee hosting each table and providing information about the sample offered. Additionally, the tables will be decorated with the colors, images and symbols of the country from where the beer hails, making the tasting more of a cultural information event than simply a sip and savor activity.

“It’s interesting to see where all the beers are from,” Dixon said, “and we will have specification sheets on each of the beers so hopefully people will learn a little something as well as have fun.”

In preparing for the event, the committee members began with a selection of 13 beers from varying countries. They then sipped and tasted, reviewing and rating each beer on scale from 0 to 10. The selections with the highest average scores were tapped to be the options presented at the event. The resulting beer brands come from France, Mexico, Belgium, the United States, and two from Ireland.

For those who may crinkle their nose at the thought of beer, Dixon said they shouldn’t let that initial reaction stop them from exploring the global drink.

“Come and try it,” she said. “You might not like beer because you’ve always had the same kind – Coors, Miller and Budweiser. Expand your experience before making a judgment.”

Even if people are 100 percent positive beer is not their preferred drink, they can still go and take part in the overall experience.

“We should always look for ways to broaden our horizons,” Dixon said. “Do new things, meet new people.”

The $10 ticket for admission offers more than an expanded assortment of beers. Hors d’oeuvres will be served and door prizes will be drawn, giving those attending a chance to win items that include a six-pack of one of the beers highlighted at the event, as well as different pieces of beer paraphernalia.

And while beer may be the focus of the evening, the purpose is to raise money for the Vincent House. After a recent review of the home by engineers, it was determined a number of small maintenance projects need to be addressed, including cracking plaster and interior painting.

Additionally, Dixon said, the yard is going to be improved to make it more appealing as a setting for community events.

“Bushes were re-planted last fall,” she said, “but we really want to make it more inviting.”

The Victorian mansion was built in 1871 by James and Adeline Swain in the historic Oak Hill District. Webb and Catherine Vincent, a couple instrumental in the development of the local gypsum industry, purchased the Victorian home eight years later.

The house was then bequeathed to the YWCA in 1969 and is regularly rented out for receptions, weddings, and other events with the proceeds going to the YWCA.

Common beer terminology:

Ale – any beer that uses yeast that ferments at a high temperature.

Amber – any top or bottom fermented beer having a color between pale and dark.

Hops green herbs used to add flavor, aromatics, bitter and beer.

International Bitter Units (IBU) – refers to the hoppiness of the beer; higher numbers mean the more dominate the hops taste.

Lager – a beer that uses yeast that ferments at a lower temperature; lagers tend to have little to no yeast taste making them crisp and clean tasting.

Hard cider – A fermented beverage made from apples.

Malt liquor – a legal term used to identify a fermented beverage of relatively high alcohol content.

Mead – produced by the fermentation of honey, water, yeast and optional ingredients such as fruit, herbs or spices.

Beer styles

Brown and milds – brown ales have a bit of roasted malt that makes them have a taste that hints of chocolate. They aren’t very dark beers like stouts or porters; they are flavorful but not extreme.

Fruit, herb and spice – brewed with fruit, herbs, and spices. Some popular kinds include pumpkin ales and Christmas ales. This style tends to appeal to people who like wine.

Hoppy – Hop levels vary, which make some more bitter or gives them a bite at the end.

Pilsners – like lagers, use yeast that ferments at a lower temperature and leaves less taste

Stouts and Porters – dark beers that are often a little thick and can have coffee, chocolate or caramel flavors

Strong Ales, Old Ales, and Barleywines – higher alcohol levels and often very rich flavor

Wheats and Weizens brewed with wheat, which gives them a light taste. Wheat usually brings out a sweeter flavor with less hop bite at the end; these beers are often cloudy and have crisp flavor from yeast.

When reviewing a beer:

1. Appearance -Note the beer’s color, carbonation, and head.

2. Smell Notice the beer’s aromatic qualities. Malts tend to smell sweet or like caramel; roasted or smoky; toasty, chocolaty, nutty while hops tend to smell dank, herbal, spicy, leafy, grassy, floral, piney, or citrusy. Yeast can create fruity or flowery aromas (esters) from ales and very clean aromas from lagers.

3. Taste – Note any flavors it brings to mind. Descriptions can be similar to the smell. Tastes include salty, sweet, sour, or metallic.

4. Mouthfeel – Consider if it is light on the tongue or heavy. Is it chewy, watery, smooth or coarse? Also, was the beer flat, over-carbonated?

5. Overall – Overall impression of the beer.

Source: Beeradvocate.com