Mike Byrne wants to school you

Written by on December 30, 2015 in Beer - No comments

I was at a party last week when someone introduced me to their friend as a “beer critic.” I quickly corrected them saying that I was a beer writer, not critic. To be honest, I don’t have what it takes to properly review beer. I recently read a beer review with tasting notes that talked about hints of pineapple plus “under-ripe blackberries and tart green apples.” Wow. I probably wouldn’t even be able to pick-up on blackberries, let alone how ripe they were, and even when I detect some subtle taste, I usually can’t put the words to it. So, my New Year’s resolution is to improve my taste buds.

Much to my delight, Lineage Brewing in Clintonville is coming to my aid. Mike Byrne, brewer and co-owner of Lineage is starting a “Beer School” in January. Prior to opening Lineage, Mike was a middle school and high school teacher in the Columbus area, and in addition to being the head brewer at Lineage, he is also a beer judge. To Mike it seemed like “a no-brainer” to bring all those skills and knowledge together and offer some training in the field of beer.

“I want to offer [the classes for] those who are not in the inner circle,” said Byrne. “It’s good for people to know what these flavors are. They might be tasting them, but don’t know what it is they are tasting, or what causes it.”

Mike Byrne

The first class in Beer School is Beer 101, which will help newbies understand the basics of craft beer including raw ingredients, the brewing process and some beer and food pairings. In February, Lineage will host two Sensory classes in which Mike will provide each student the opportunity to sample off-notes that can occur (but hopefully not too commonly!) in beer. In each of the two classes, attendees will sample a series of light beers that have been spiked with an off-note. They will then be challenged to pick out those samples and asked to describe it, after which Mike will explain what it is and why it may occur in a beer. There will be five different and distinct off-notes tasted, defined and discussed in each of the Sensory classes.

The Beer 101 class is slated for Sunday, January 17 at noon. It costs $15, lasts 1.5 hours and is limited to 25. The Sensory Classes are February 7 and 21, both at noon. Each class is limited to 20, lasts 1.5 hours and costs $25. Tickets may be purchased at the brewery, which is located at 2971 North High street in Clintonville.

About the Author

Bill Babbitt is a retired engineer, beer lover, and freelance writer for Beer Advocate Magazine.

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