Without A Net | Pop culture from Southern California and beyond.

How not to be a slave to the label

Snobbishness, it seems, goes hand in hand with wine connoisseurs, but beer lovers?

Apparently it can. So, to combat the scourge, some local beer enthusiasts thought a blind beer tasting was in order.
Chris Quiroga, Dave Watrous and Brian Lenzo address the crowd gathered for the blind tasting at Blue Palms Brewhouse.

The Blue Palms Brewhouse in Hollywood decided to remove the handles from their 24 draft beers and let the palates and imaginations of the drinkers do the mental work that a beer label alone often overrides.

The owner, Brian Lenzo, said the Woodshop 5.1 blind tasting was supposed to help remove misplaced preconceptions or allegiances a beer lover may develop about a certain beer style or brewery. Too often, subtle impressions take a back seat to hype and prior expectations associated with a given beer style or label, Lenzo said.

(Listen to audio of Blue Palms Brewhouse owner Brian Lenzo explain the art of the blind tasting.)


The concept behind a blind tasting is simple: each attendee gets a small sample of the mysterious beer and has to try to figure out, first - what style of beer it is; second - what brewery it might hail from. Repeat as desired.

The festgoers were asked to jot down their impressions before the time came to reveal the names behind the beer taps.

Time will tell if such methods can keep snobbishness from creeping in and ruining a movement not known for its exclusivity and elitism (yet).