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Machine vs. wine tasters

What happens when university students use a machine to compete against a panel of wine experts in predicting the price level, region and quality for a number of wines?

Chemie.DE News-Center reports they came quite close to the experts’ judgment, especially when predicting region and quality level for wine at lower prices. Both the panel and the wine analysers had problems when predicting the price of the more expensive wines, but the expert’s ability to judge the finer points of the wines allowed them to get closer to the actual price.

However, the students and their machine easily won when it came to delivering speedy results.

I’m not sure that a beer tasting contraption could do as well.

Out of boring beer ideas? Never

Here’s another take on why we’re seeing “bolder” (OK bolder might be a little strong) beers from the nation’s larger brewers.

“I think they’ve exhausted [the formula of] ‘How many types of beers can we make that are light and boring?’ ” said Walter Trifari, head of brewing operations for Fordham Brewing in Dover, in a story at Delaware Online.

Experience tells us they can still find more.

But are they describing the flavor?

Relative to the ongoing discussion about the need for better vocabulary when tasting beer, an amusing comment from a wine blog. In this case, Mark Fisher asked, “What do you think the best Wine 101 class would include?”

The first reply was this:

I’d like to know if wine critics can really taste “a hint of raspberry dipped in chocolate and wiped away with old socks.” I think a wine should be judged on smoothness and depth. Cheaper wines can be smooth but better wines also have depth. I think wine reviewers make up all the descriptive language because they’ve got to fill the space with something.

Could it really be that simple?

For the love of yeast

Steelhead Brewing Company brewmaster Teri Fahrendorf has wandered into the blogging world as she begins work on the “GOOD BREAD GUIDE – Beer Lover’s Bread Book.”

A few of the basics:

What makes me want to write this book? I love yeast, and I love to experiment with the breads I bake. I love “pushing the envelope” with my breads, and with my professionally-made beers. (As long as the beer isn’t too far-out for our customers at Steelhead.)

There appears to be plenty of consumer guides for people searching for a good beer, but few consumer guides to good bread. I am interested in the smallest artisanal producers of both. And because I don’t think anybody’s put this slant on it before, I want to approach bread from a brewer’s perspective.

Anyway, the blog is subtitled “A brewmaster searches for the best local artisan breads and bakeries, and the best local pint of beer, with help from brewers and bakers all over the country.”

How’s that for a call to action?

The Curmudgeon on swillocracy

Roger Baylor (aka the Potable Curmudgeon) has a much more entertaining take on Miller new ad campaign to position Miller Lite “as a smarter, more intelligent light beer” than previously presented here.

You too should wish you could craft lines such as:

Miller is preparing to tout its eternally insipid Lite with a campaign that exalts rules of living for men, and features a motley collection of hack celebrities swilling alcoholic soda pop straight from the bottle.


In fact, the megabrewer’s current television advertising spots are so abysmal that they make the ubiquitous fast food and automotive envy blurbs seem Shakespearean by comparison.

Find time to read all of “Corporate bored rooms of the swillocracy.”

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