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Tasteful Testers

[whitespace] THIS YEAR'S PANEL of tasters included a wide range of beer enthusiasts, with varying taste preferences. All have spent a great deal of time as craft beer enthusiasts, in brewers' seminars at the Wine Exchange, and in previous tastings over the last six to seven years. Many are, or have been, homebrewers, and all are well-informed fans of the American craft-brewing renaissance.

The panel included: David Homewood, winemaker and homebrewer (and owner of Homewood Winery); Rich Farnocchia, winemaker and 21-year veteran of the alcohol beverage industry; sculptor Jim Callahan; vineyard supervisor Jim Taylor; salesman Mark Coleman; carpenter Kelly Crist; painter Paul Johann; water-treatment technician Mark Hogan; ad rep Pierce Lett; attorney Xavier Lavoipierre; and Sonoma Wine Exchange manager Dan Noreen, a wine and beer scholar.

Writer Tom Butler has written numerous articles on wine, beer, food, and travel for a variety of publications.

The ratings were based on a scale of 1-10, and the beers were tasted in flights of three and four in order to compare similar beers. You can read more extensive results of the tasting, as well as add comments of your own, by going to the tasting Web page.

The complete list of beers and their respective ratings (out of 10) includes:

Beer Rating
North Coast Anniversary X 9.3
Harvey's Elizabethan Ale 8.8
Scaldis Noël 8.2
J.W. Lee's Harvest Ale 1997 7.9
Fuller's Vintage Ale 1998 7.8
Sammichlaus Brown 7.4
Sierra Nevada Celebration, Draft 7.0
Alaskan Brewing Company Smoked Porter 6.7
Anchor OSA 6.0
Abbey Affligem Noël 6.0
Sierra Nevada Celebration, Bottled 5.1
Lagunitas Lagunator 5.0
Fuller's Old Winter Ale 4.9
Bear Republic Winter Lager 4.8
Südwerk Holiday Bock 4.8
Anderson Valley Winter Solstice 4.8
Deschutes Jubelale 4.6
North Coast Wintertime Ale 4.3
Pyramid Snow Cap 4.2
Full Sail Wassail 3.8
Humboldt Winter Nectar 3.7
Portland Icicle Creek 3.5

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From the December 17-23, 1998 issue of the Sonoma County Independent.

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