The competition breaks down into two parts: a blind tasting of the two beers before we get there, and a studio debate on whose beer culture is the best. The audience score both parts and the combined score produces the winner. Schiehallion actually lost out very narrowly to Paulaner lager in the taste test, confirming my suspicions about how to play this tactically with a mainly female audience not that into beer. I very narrowly won the studio debate.
Sabine von Reth: "In Germany, in the army you get two litres of free beer every day. The British army doesn't have this."
Matt (our chair): "Pete, what do you say to that?"
Me: "If you're British, don't join the army. Go to the pub instead.")
Overall, I won and went through. But I think it was by the very narrowest of margins. Sabine was great. She runs the Bavarian Brewhouse in Old Street, London. They're currently having an Oktoberfest there, with bands flow in from Munich. I suggest you go. I will be.
Anyway, next week we record the semi-final. I'm up against America, so this could get messy. I don't know the person I'm up against, but they could bring either the blandest, most boring beer in the world or something very good indeed. What will the audience go for? Will they recognise greatness?
I need to choose another beer to go up against them. And if I get through, I need a range of six beers for the final. I can't duplicate beers. So do I sacrifice one of our finest beers for the semi, choosing something I believe can beat whatever the Yanks throw at us? Or do I save the best for the final and play tactically? And why is British beer culture so much better than American beer culture?
These are the questions that will preoccupy me till October 7th...