It’s official; our boisterous affection for beer is going nowhere. If you’re drinking the good stuff, you might as well do it properly. Here are 6 steps to appreciating beer in all its glory.
Before you dive into tasting a beer, pour it into a clear glass and take a decent look at it. Pay attention to the colour, clarity, foam and consistency.
Just like wine, beer can benefit from a little swirling. Gently swirl the beer in a glass to unlock its aromas, stimulate carbonation and put its head retention to the test.
Giving your pint a hefty sniff probably isn’t something you want to be seen doing. It’s entirely acceptable with a glass of vino, but breathing in a brew is sure to raise a few perplexed eyebrows.
Taking in aroma, however, is a crucial step of beer tasting. Take two speedy sniffs through your nose and then one long one. Try breathing with you mouth open and closed, and take note of the sensory experience.
After all that, it’s time to let that beer pass your lips. Have a small sip and instead of swallowing straight away, let the beer linger in your mouth. This will allow the beer’s characteristics and flavours to make their presence.
Does it start with a hint of sweetness and end with a bitter note? Is it fruity or smoky? Is it acidic, salty or smooth? Try and identify what your taste buds are experiencing.
Tip: Try the beer when it’s cold and later on, when it’s a bit warmer. The flavours are likely to be more pronounced once the beer loses it chill.
Notice how to beer feels in your mouth. Is it light and airy or heavy and viscous? How bubbly is it? Does it leave an astringent or mellow taste?
The mouthfeel will vary depending on the style of beer, brewing methods and ingredient quality.
Properly tasting beer can help you discover your favourite brew and which ones you’d buy again. It’s also a handy way to detect the duds.
Don’t get disheartened if you’re having trouble pinning down what you’re tasting and smelling – practice makes perfect.