So how exactly do you do a blind beer taste test? Well, I'm told there are three ways. The first is the most common: get someone not taking part to serve the beer. Second, rarer: turn all the lights out. Third: if everyone there wants to take part but no one trusts each other enough to turn the lights out, use socks. Come again?
Yes, socks, it's obvious. Select the beers you wish to test, in our case, Dreher, Borsodi, Soproni, Arany Ászok and Kőbányai. Sit in a circle and distribute the cans/bottles evenly. Find 5 different pairs of socks, ideally the ones with days of the week on them, and put them within easy reach. Then all close your eyes and slide the beers around the circle until none of you know which is which anymore. With your eyes still closed, put the beers in the socks. Now you can safely open your eyes and test the beers. Simple.

We embarked upon our scientific study. Beers are listed according to the socks they were in. The voting system: 3 judges, each awarding 15 points. 5 points for the best, 1 for the worst.

Friday socks (orange)

It's lively... bubbly... a sharp acidity. (If we thought we were lacking the rudimentary descriptive language, we weren't going to show it.) Jacob looks like he's taking it very seriously. 'It's like having sex with a woman you met on the street, on the street.' He's referring to the cheap beer combined with a panoramic view of Budapest, for such occasions require a fitting stage.
Points: 1 + 2.5 + 2 = 5.5

socks (blue)

Alert: Andy's seen the can. Operation "Rescue Beer Test Integrity" commences, as Jacob is elected to close his eyes and swap some socks over. Disaster averted.

Cheaper than the last one, said one. More flavour on the first sip, said another. Sweeter, made with river water. Almondy. Yes, I'm getting almonds. I think I've come across this on the tram, early in the morning. What does hoppy mean? This one's not hoppy. Points: 2 + 2.5 + 1 = 5.5

Sunday socks (khaki)

They all taste a bit the same. The word hoppy is gaining ground now but what exactly does it mean? We like saying it and this is therefore the hoppiest yet. Jacob bangs on about IPA, a little motif for him for the evening. Comparisons are being made. It's inferior to the last one. No, this is my favourite - the closest to IPA. It's lager, it's nothing like IPA. Yes, but it's hoppy and IPA's hoppy. Points: 5 + 1 + 4.5 = 10.5

Tuesday socks (one red, one pink)

This is the beer you drink when you're sick. Orsi says it smells funny. I don't think it smells funny. I think it's alright. It tastes like crackers. Yes, it does. It does taste like crackers. Jacob's spot on. Jacob's cream crackers. Points: 3 + 4 + 4.5 = 11.5

Wednesday socks (grey)

There's a full moon tonight. 'That's not a full moon, that's gibbous.' This beer is the best, although I've written that on three separate occasions. Maybe it's the beer talking. Give me some more. It's got a floral nose; it tastes like dandelions. Everyone agrees. "A true drinking beer", whatever that means. Points: 4 + 5 + 3 = 12

Are we going to unveil them? Yes, let's unveil
them. I can hardly contain my excitement (no irony intended).

Friday, in joint 4th is... Borsodi. Saturday, also joint 4th is Arany Ászok. In 3rd place, in the Sunday socks is Dreher. And in 2nd, masquerading as Tuesday is Kőbányai. Finally, in 1st place, Hungary's finest everyday beer is... Soproni! Cue 'Formula 1'-style celebration... but with beer.

Our results, certified by the Cambridge examining board - bore a few surprises. Borsodi, one of my staple choices out on the town, fared rather poorly. Meanwhile,
Kőbányai, the cheapest of the bunch, was pretty well-received. Perhaps most significantly, the results show a certain trend: the more you drink, the better beer tastes. You probably didn't need us to tell you that, which I think, adds a certain legitimacy to our experiment.

Andy Sz.



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