Taste is everything. Beer is perhaps the most unique and versatile drink on the planet, and we firmly believe that if you’re not enjoying your beer, something is seriously wrong. A cheap price tag and tolerable flavor do not a winning brew make. With that in mind, we also realize that beer can be overwhelming. The sheer amount of choices and styles is enough to make even a seasoned brewmaster’s head spin. And if you’re a newcomer to the world of beer, expanding your palate can seem like an insurmountable task.
Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be. If you can commit to follow some simple tips and rules, then we promise you’ll be well on your way to beer nirvana. Below you’ll find a list of beer tasting suggestions to get you started!
Utilize your senses
To really make the most of a beer tasting, take in the whole beer! How is the color? Does it have any noticeable aromas? Is it heavily carbonated or fairly flat? Thick and syrupy or thin and light? Sweet, smoky, sour…something else? All of these factors (and more) contribute to the overall taste of a beer. Touch and hearing usually take a back seat; but your other three senses are all crucial components.
Learn about what you’re seeing/smelling/tasting
Dry hopping? Maltiness? Lacing? Head retention? The vocabulary of beer can be utterly confusing. But the more you know, the easier it will become to actually qualify what you’re experiencing. To help get you started, check out our Glossary of Beer Terms.
Use a glass
Ok, ok … we all know there’s just something inherently great about tossing back a couple longnecks on a hot summer’s day. But whenever possible, a clean glass is the way to go. Many breweries nowadays even recommend specific types of glassware that best showcase their unique beers. For ideas or inspiration, head over to our Beer Glassware page.
Pair with food
Beer is an excellent stand-alone beverage, but you’re missing out if your consumption is relegated to a pint at the bar or a sixer with a friends while you’re glued to the TV on Sunday. There’s nothing quite like the perfect brew to complement the perfect meal; pairing beer with food not only reveals some remarkable flavor combinations, but hones your ability to identify the specific flavors you’re tasting. And trust us … there is a beer for just about any dish. Aren’t sure where to begin? Start with the brews/foods you know and love already. Find commonalities, look for ways to complement or contrast flavors, remember to use stronger beers with stronger dishes … but most of all, experiment!
Get to know your styles
We can’t stress this enough. If you begin to find your beer increasingly boring, it’s probably a good sign to branch out and try something different. Sure, it can be difficult because there are so many to choose from. But we can’t all be Michael Jackson (from Wetherby, not Gary). The variety and uniqueness of beer styles is truly what sets it apart from every other beverage in the world; you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t begin to experience those styles for yourself. Some will disappoint, many will impress … and if you stick with it, a few will blow your mind. But if there’s anything certain, it’s that none of that will happen if you don’t make the effort to expand your brew palate. Like beer? Then man or woman up and try something new.