Firstly, I forgot to mention Renaissance Brewing. They had a New Zealand vs England line up of two special bitters brewed to exactly the same recipes, but one with New Zealand ingredients and the other with English ingredients.
This was a really interesting palate testing exercise. Obviously the two beers were very similar. The English version I thought had better mouthfeel, which may have been due to the Marris Otter malt as opposed to the Gladfield Ale malt.
This inspired me to try modifying one of my recipes to use Marris Otter as the base malt and see what happened. I'll post on this later.
It would be good to try this again with a cleaner palate. And blind, perhaps. Not actually blind, I don't see how that would help, just without knowing which was which when tasting.
Secondly, I had lunch with a friend on a while back at Fork & Brewer. I took the opportunity to taste (well, drink) the Golden Mile Dry Hopped Lager, which was one of my favourite beers at Beervana this year. At Beervana, I had this beer after having already tasted a lot of very hoppy beers. This time, I came at it with what ought to have been a pretty clean palate. As I had sort of expected, it was still a very nice beer, but I felt it could have used more hops.