GABS paddle plan

Forget your paddles at GABS, go for the glass.

Forget your paddles at GABS, go for the glass.

This year will be the third time I’ve attended GABS. Being a bit of an overplanner, I tended to go nuts and work out all the paddles I would try.

These would be structured around getting all five samples from the one bar and then, within each paddle, sorting them from lightest to heaviest, to ensure I was tasting them appropriately.
Then I would revise them, because I found another beer I had to try.

I would link to these posts but, to be frank, they’re a trifle embarassing. But you can search for them yourself if you want. Some of them may even have been tagged ‘‘what a dickhead’’ (that’s a joke: don’t actually go looking for that tag).

In the second session last year I stumbled on the best way to approach GABS. Well best for me anyway. And I will link to this post, because it’s not dickheady in any way. Basically, you forget about the damn tasting paddles and treat GABS like a one big bar (which it kind of is when you think about it) where you check out the taps and then go ‘‘I’ll have one of those’’.

Instead of getting a small tasting cup, you get them to fill your GABS Coopers’-branded glass. Now, I will be doing a bit of research ahead of time. But that will consist of nothing more than looking through the GABS beer list and circling the stuff I want to try.

Some will hate this approach because it means they will surely miss out on trying beers. But I figure, unless you’re going to every session and have an iron liver, you’ll miss out on beers anyway.

Also, when I buy a new beer at a bottle shop or bar I don’t want a little taster, I want a glassful. And it’ll be the same at GABS too. It just seems more fun that way. And just for shits and giggles I might ask Twitter to tell me which beer to drink.

There will be some tasting paddle use – for me it seems the smart way to navigate through the high-alcohol beers at GABS. But the others, well, they’ll be drunk in big glasses.

3 replies »

  1. Really?! I disagree. You get through a lot more beers using the paddle than the glass and with a lot of the beers at GABS; even the good ones, they’re a little too intense for a whole glass, but are still worth the experience.

    Good luck to you though. I certainly see the merit in enjoying a full beer over the taster.

    • My approach is more on enjoying the beers I do drink rather than trying to taste as many as possible.
      I went all-paddle for the first time I went in 2013 with the specific aim to drink as many as possible. But it just felt like work rather than fun to me. In 2014, I opted to try drinking full glasses. I found the latter much more enjoyable, so I’ll be doing that again this year.
      Except where big beers are concerned. Those high-alcohol ones will be tasted in paddles.

  2. I’m heading to my first GABS this year. Good to see both sides of the argument. I’m thinking I might start with a paddle to get some broad exposure, then get on the glasses, kicking off with my favourite from the paddle

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