Tips for a Good Beer Tasting
Beer tasting doesn’t have to be a detailed, intimidating thing. Many times, newcomers assume they need to have a rich background in beer styles, flavors, and history but the truth is, beer tasting is an easy way to experience new beers you may not have otherwise tried while learning a little bit about the beers along the way.
If your beer is served in a can or bottle, pour it into a glass so that you can have a good look at it. Take note of the look of the beer. Is it hazy or can you see through it? What color is it? While this doesn’t actually impact the overall taste of the beer, it can help you to visualize the difference between certain styles.
Sense of smell plays a huge part in taste so before you take a sip, try taking a sniff. Make an attempt to decipher what kind of smells you get from the beer. Does it smell sweet or bitter? Maybe you can pick up a slight coffee smell or a tangy orange. If you have trouble picking up the smell, swirl the beer around a bit to release more of the scent. Each of these differences can affect how and what you taste in the beer itself and let you know what to expect.
Now for the good part. It is best not to chug down your beer, remember you’re at a tasting not a frat party. Take a small sip and let it linger. If possible, try to breathe in some air while you sip as this will help agitate the flavors and bring them out. Swish the beer around in your mouth a bit as well. A good beer will have various flavors that you will not catch if you immediately swallow it all down. Once you’ve gotten a good taste, go ahead and swallow the beer to experience the final flavors as it hits the taste buds on the back of your tongue.
Most importantly, a beer tasting should be fun. Before you come, try having a mini beer tasting night at home. Many local stores have a “build your own 6-pack option” which are not much more expensive than a standard pack. This will help you learn your likes and dislikes, but you’re not stuck with a full case of beer you you do care for.