Nowadays you can throw a tasting party for pretty much everything. Wine, Whiskey, Sake…heck it doesn’t just have to be a beverage. Cheese tastings, olive oil tastings, chocolate. If its edible and has a least five different flavours you can “taste” it. So throwing a beer tasting party is not that farfetched. And given the casualness of this drink these parties can go hand in hand with a intense game of Cards against Humanity or poolside bbq.
Because being told what not to do sucks let’s get through the don’ts of a proper beer tasting.
- Respect each other. Everyone has different preferences and what may be amazing to you could be mediocre to someone else.
- Don’t make your beer too cold. Cold beer numbs your taste buds.
- Don’t smoke. Again the taste buds.
- Don’t review while sick with a cold or intoxicated from the pre party. really it’d be a waste.
Pick a reasonable number of beers to taste and at a reasonable volume. Too many large pours with result in the above intoxicated “don’t. Pick a style to highlight or a wide range variety. Most importantly keep it simple and fun. Pick beers no one has tried before or new seasonals on the market.
You want to taste them in an order that makes sense. Low ABVs’ and IBU’s should be your first beers moving up to the stronger, bolder ones. Again it’s all about your taste buds. Throwing several heavy stouts before a wheat will mess with your flavour profile. And always have water and crackers on hand for palate cleansing. Trust me it helps.
When tasting a beer you are paying attention to 4 different things.
- Appearance– if you have a creamy stout how deep is it’s color or creamy it’s head? Light lagers should be clear while wheat beers are cloudy.
- Smell– If you are tasting a raspberry stout or smoked saison do you smell those things?
- Mouth feel– are you trying a high carbonation beer? Is you ESB biting the back of your tongue?
- Taste– did it taste how it smelled? Does the after taste linger and mellow? Do you taste hints of citrus, fruits, chocolate, ash?
However the most important thing when having a beer tasting is making sure you and your guests have a great time. If you stop mid tasting and just start pounding them back its okay. Your friends are your friends for a reason. They and the beer understand.
Next Up….Beer 101: What’s My Style? Each week I will delve deeper into an individual style. First up…Pilsners.