Craft beers have rocketed into popularity because of the unique, personal experience they offer. If you’re intrigued by the idea of tasting craft beer but really have no idea where to start, these tips can help you transform your beer tasting style into one of a seasoned professional.
Choose the Right Beer
Drinkers who are new to craft beer will benefit from beginning with “crossover beers,” lighter style ales like lagers and pilsners. If you’re organizing an official tasting for guests, pick a theme that has some logic to it, like a comparison of seasonal brews or a selection from a favorite brewery.
Find the Appropriate Environment
Beer tasting should be relaxed experience without many distractions. Keep cool spring water and unsalted crackers on hand to munch in between beers as a palate cleanser. Of course, beer tasting after greasy or spicy meals isn’t a great idea, since they can temporarily block taste receptors, and cigarette smoke just flat out ruins the entire affair.
Select the Best Glassware
You don’t exactly want to taste your beer out of coffee mugs, do you? Glassware enhances the beer compared to drinking straight from the bottle or can. Some people like to use clean white wine glasses, while others opt for a standard shaker pint. It’s up to personal preference, but overall you want to be able to see the beer and admire its appearance.
Plan for Temperature
This will sound a little bit like Goldilocks. Beer can’t be kept too cold because the low temperatures will make it dryer and more bitter, but nobody enjoys warm beer. The exact right beer temperature will draw out the drink’s aroma, sweetness, and flavor. Lagers taste best around 40 degrees, ales at 50 degrees, and strong ales at the “cellar temperature” of 60 degrees. These temperatures become very clearly important when your actually bottling craft beer through a manufacturer.
Pour and Taste with Style
Hold your beer glass of choice at a 45 degree angle and pour slowly down the side. Hold the glass straight when it is half full and pour the remainder of the beer right down the middle of the glass to enhance the foamy head. When it’s finally time to enjoy the part that you’ve worked so hard to plan, remember the essential steps. Take a moment to examine the color and clarity of the beer, swirl, take note of the unique smell, and take a small sip. This is key; it’s not time to gulp yet! Let your sip roll around your tongue and savor it on your palate. As you swallow, take a second to appreciate the carbonation, body, and warmth of the beer. Now you’re an expert!