beer and snacks

The Perfect Beer Tasting Guide

A beer tasting event is the perfect way to find new beers. A beer tasting is a fun and easy way to explore new tastes and styles.

Choose a Nice Variety
There are many beers to choose from out there, so you’ll have no trouble finding a nice variety. A selection of six beers is a great start. Estimate that you’ll pour each person at your tasting a 3-4 ounce sample of each brew. A tasting is about expanding beer horizons, so each person should at least give each brew a taste.

A sampling of beers should move from lightest to darkest. Choose a crisp pilsner or lightly hopped pale ale first. Move on to an IPA or two, then follow up with a nice dark lager. Always end your beer tasting with a strong porter or stout, something that has big imperial flavors that make an impact on the pallet works particularly well.

The Correct Way to Taste a Beer
To best appreciate a beer, first take a nice long look. Describe the color, carbonation, and thickness of the foam. We enjoy so much by only smelling, so lean in and take a whiff of the brew. What seems to be forward in the beer? Each style will have it’s own unique aromas.

Take a small sip first to get an initial impression of what you’re tasting. What are the very first words that come to mind? Let the beer stay on your tongue for a few seconds and concentrate on what special elements make it differ from the last brew you tasted.

Finally, take another, larger taste of the beer. Note how if it’s thick or thin, spicy or sweet, hop-forward or malty. Does it leave a bad aftertaste, or leave you wanting more?

Provide Snacks that Complement Flavors and Please the Crowd
Follow each taste up with a quick drink of water and some snacks. Hot pretzels are particularly delicious, but straight up crunchy ones from the bag work well too. Lightly salted popcorn, hard cheeses with mild aroma and taste, or fresh melon work well to cleanse the pallet.

Rate and Discuss Those Beautiful Brews
Sure, tasting great beers is fun, but a beer tasting isn’t complete without a discussion of the brews on display. Give each person a rating sheet at the start for making notes and rating each brew.

Discuss your ratings of each brew and vote on a clear winner. Were any brews not what you expected? How would each stand up with different meals or snacks? Each person should keep their ratings card for reference during future beer purchases.