The recent popularity of craft brewing means that folks are taking to exploring new and unknown beers. In fact, beer tasting has become somewhat of a past-time for casual drinkers and beer enthusiasts alike. Luckily, there are a plethora of brews that have yet to be discovered.
Whether going out to a tasting room or simply enjoying a beer at home, there are a few things that can help enhance the experience. Keep these steps in mind as they will help in making the most out of the next beer venture.
Not so fast on the appetizers
Make sure to begin the with a clean palate. It might be tempting to munch on something before tasting the beer, especially when enjoying drinks out with friends at a restaurant. However, if the tasting of beer is the main event, abstain from dipping into those fries before taking the first sip.
Not only will eating make the beer taste different, but some of the strong aromas present in certain foods may disrupt the subtle bouquet of the beer.
Taking in the view
Once the beer is presented, make note of its appearance. It sounds obvious, but there are plenty of details that can be easily missed by an unseasoned assessor.
Notice the color of the beer and determine where it falls on the color spectrum. Also, judge the transparency. Is it clear or a little hazy? Maybe it is not transparent at all. If there is a head on it, note the color of it as well. It can range from bright white on light beers to brown on darker beers.
The swirl and sniff
Smelling is vital in this process because it assists in determining the taste of the beer. The best way of acquiring an overt aroma is to swirl the beer around the glass (also known as agitating) and then taking two or three quick sniffs. This helps the aroma rise up and out of the glass and into the nose.
If there is a familiar aroma, attempt to determine what it is or when it might have been experienced before. This helps in telling apart distinct and unique ingredients that other people might miss.
Feeling the texture
Although it may be second nature to simply sip and swallow a drink, it is important to not do so during a beer tasting. In order to get an overall appreciation of the beer, it is ideal to take a sip and make out the consistency and texture first. This can range from thin and carbonated to smooth and silky.
The taste test
Attempt to have the beer linger on the palate for a little longer than accustomed to, as some of the beer's subtle flavors might not be immediately detectable. Determine whether the beer is sweet, bitter or sour. Also, begin to make out the flavors that seem familiar. For example, it might have a taste of coffee or maybe a specific fruit like orange or banana. Appreciate its complexity.