Sensory School: How To Have Your Own Beer Tasting
Whether you’re having a tasting to learn about beer, figure out what to brew next, or just to have fun, there are some simple tips that can make you look like you really are a beer pro if you are the host (or simply make it easier to enjoy the experience and just focus on the beer).
Craftbeer.com has already done the legwork in putting together some awesomely thorough at-home tasting guides and handy-dandy beer placemats. Though we won’t reinvent the wheel, we recommend reading their guide before having a tasting, then using the following pointers when it comes to having a tasting with OUR beers.
Don’t just taste beers in the “light to dark” order. There’s a reason our menu on The Bruery Tasting Room wall lists the beers on an intensity spectrum. Think of your palate like a little gym rat (but much, much better looking). You don’t want to start him off with a giant weight he can barely lift, leaving him exhausted and worn out before he even had a chance to try the light weights. As Craftbeer.com highlights, beer tasting should go by intensity, so start with beers that are easier to approach and work your way to those strong ABV or strongly flavored beers.
In the case of Bruery beers, you won’t have to worry too much about crazy hopped beers, but our sours and big barrel brews can certainly make your palate grow tired or confused much quicker than most beers. There’s more you can do to keep your palate fresh, like sampling unsalted crackers and drinking water or seltzer water, but you’ll see more of that in the guide we referred to earlier.
Like we said, there are lots and lots … and lots of beers out there. Having a focused tasting takes pressure off of organizing the tasting, off of your guests, your palate, and your level of inebriation during tasting! The more you can chisel away at the lesson you’d like to get from your tasting, the more you can focus on the other fun parts of having your get together — like whether you’ll go with the lobster eating bibs or the In n Out lap mats for your guests who get messy.
Have a good time (and have food) afterward — save the recreational enjoyment for after the tasting, so you can keep your aforementioned goals in line. If your guests are new to beer tastings, let them know they can try more, or other beers, once it’s over. This way, they can focus on just enjoying and understanding what’s in front of them and look forward to more treats afterward. Many of our beers are higher in ABV, so starting a tasting on a completely empty stomach is not the best idea. Eat something well beforehand so your palate is fresh, but your belly is not empty.
If you’ll be incorporating food, try some pairings you might not normally go for. There’s a plethora of tips out there on what pairs best with what, but you’ll never know what kind of new sensory path you might find yourself on if you don’t get weird once and a while. We intentionally make beers that go remarkably well with food, so having a food pairing tasting is a great (and delicious) option. We’ve posted lots of Bruery recipes and pairing ideas over on our recipes tab to make it easy.
For your convenience, we’ve also created some beer tasting sheets based off of and inspired by our most popular flights at The Bruery Tasting Room. Now you can recreate your own tasting at home with these handy sheets:
- The Bruery Classics
- Barrel Aged
- Or make your own: Blank Tasting Sheet
Enjoy, explore, and learn away!
Some more guidance:
More how to guides for you:
- 10 Steps to Better Beer Photography
- 10 Steps to Even Better Beer Blogging
- 10 Tips for Better Craft Beer Videos