I think it would be fairly easy to organise the proverbial at the Wychwood Brewery in Witney; the samples flowed freely when Jane and I went on a tour there yesterday afternoon. The process isn’t that different to home brewing but orders of magnitude up in terms of scale.
There were lots of interesting snippets of information. For example, I hadn’t previously realised that bottles (long shelf and largely for home consumption) contain a stronger version of the beer than the equivalent cask. This is so that pubs can sell a greater volume, which obviously has a certain profit motive but also avoids the beer sitting in the tapped barrel too long and starting to deteriorate in quality (so a popular beer in real ale pub is likely to be better tasting than the same brew in a lager pub). Comparing cask and bottle version of their Hobgoblin brew (allegedly about 85 / 10 / 5 of pale, crystal and chocolate malt… although the exact values and details of the hopping weren’t disclosed), the cask has a smoother taste; in direct comparison, the bottle tastes extremely gassy (all the injected CO2, making up for the fact the bottle has no live yeast) but then the cask version tastes flat and bland once you’ve rolled the bottled drink round your tongue.
If there is one change I would suggest, it is that some glasses of water and available spittoons might have made the comparisons a bit more scientific. However, for anyone with an interest in beer, it is definitely worth the price of admission and pays for itself with the cost of the drink (and the prices in the shop, which worked out at £1.50 a bottle for the Gingerbeard ginger beer we bought). Do take a designated driver though if you want to make the most of the samples!