Sip This: The Beginner’s Guide to Beer Tasting

Sip This: The Beginner’s Guide to Beer Tasting

When it comes to entertaining at the drop of a hat, you can always find a bottle of chilled rosé in my refrigerator. Come to think of it, most of the drink posts that my team and I have concocted over the years have usually included some sort of fruity cocktails or glasses of wine. What can I say, when it comes to my drink of choice I like something on the light and refreshing side. However, with Father’s Day coming up and party plans in the works, I realized that there are very few posts on dedicated to beer. I know there are plenty of people out there who enjoy a beer just as much as a good glass of wine… So, while stocking my fridge for the guys this weekend, I thought it would be an interesting idea to share some beer tasting tips for those who want to expand their palate. Whether you’re new to beer or are looking to feel more confident ordering at a craft brewery, this intro will have you developing your knowledge and feeling like a connoisseur in no time…

the beginner's guide to beer tasting via

What are hops?

Hops are an important factor to get to know before you beer taste. Hops are flowers used in the beer brewing process that essentially give it a bitter, aromatic flavor. Before the beer was refrigerated, hops were used to help preserve beer while in transport. Keep reading to find out which type of beer typically has the most hoppy flavor. 

What is malt?

Similar to the hops question above, understanding what malt is can help you on your taste-testing journey. Malted barley, or malt, is the grain used in beer and what gives beer its color. The lighter the roasted malt, the lighter the beer. Malt also determines how sweet the beer is, contrasted by the amount of hops (or bitterness).

Types of Beer

Lagers and Pilsners: When you think of crisp, refreshing beers, they’re typically a lager or pilsner. This is a great beer to start with since it is on the lighter side.

Ales: Ales are typically amber in color, like the third beer shown above. This kind of beer is usually fuller bodied with a hint of fruitiness and a good amount of hops. One of the more popular ales is an IPA, or India pale ale. This type of beer is brewed with more hops, which makes it distinct in flavor.

Stouts: When you see a really dark beer like Guinness, they’re usually a stout. Stouts are the fullest in body and tend to have a roasted, sweet taste. Think beer but with coffee-like qualities. Just because a beer is dark doesn’t mean that it’s always heavier though.

Porters: Similar to stouts, this kind of beer is dark and full-bodied. Instead of a coffee quality, porters are usually more on the chocolate-y side.

Sours: If you’re a fan of ciders, you’ll probably enjoy a sour beer. Sours have a distinctly tart and fruity flavor.

A good pour.

If you aren’t drinking beer straight from a bottle or can, it’s good to know the correct way to pour a glass. A good pour should have less than a dime-sized head (or foam) on top of it. Tilt the glass at a 45-degree angle and pour towards the middle of the glass. As you’re filling up the glass, slowly tilt it upright, finishing with about an inch and a half worth of foam. And there you have it!

You can read about beer tasting all day long, but you’ll never truly know what your preference is until you try them. Why not plan a fun taste testing party with friends and family this weekend for Father’s Day? Otherwise, it could be a great idea to grab some of your favorite gals and head to a local brewery.

Do you have any helpful tips for a successful beer tasting?

Let us all know what they are in the comments!

XO Lauren

Photos: Yoni Goldberg for Celebrate

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