How to Drink and Taste Beer

There are many ways to drink and taste beer.  

 THE GUZZLE.  This is when you lift the drink and pour it down the throat, within seconds it disappears.  This method is good if beer is in limited supply and will allow you to drink more than anyone else.  It can be detrimental if there is ample beer and you apply the guzzle method many times during the night. Eventually,  you will either grope your mother-in-law or pass out where your friends will write stuff on your forehead.  You may awake outside near the mail box with your butt in the air with a sign pointing down saying deliver here.

THE SIP.  This is when you milk the beer, bringing it to your lips taking a sip.  Advantages to this are your beer last for hours. It is good when you are on a very limited budget or you need to drive or trying to keep a clear head when you are out with your girlfriend’s parents.   The disadvantages are when you with friends and they starting calling you a “wuss” because you are sipping your beer.  Or you are out with your girlfriend’s parents and they begin to question your masculinity because you have milked your beer for the last hour.

THE GULP.  You lift the beer allowing a sizeable amount to enter your mouth.  Once your mouth is at maximum capability, you swallow feeling it flow down the throat.  When it enters the stomach, an orgasmic look comes over your face and you let out an “AAHHHHHHHH”.   This is perfect when coming in from a hot day of labor and you are receiving your first beer.  Or you are at a friend’s house and you want him to know the beer he is serving is really appreciated.   Disadvantages are there are only so many “AAAHHHHH’s” you can do before it becomes annoying to everyone around you. 

Then there is the “correct way” to taste beer.  The way connoisseurs state to drink beer.  I know most of my NFL Fantasy Football playing beer drinking buddies won’t know this word so I will give you display it here.  Connoisseurs are so called experts able to appreciate a field; especially in the fine arts.  My buddies and myself  know Beer Drinking is a fine arts. And over the years, we have really APPRECIATED the art!  I consider us more than experts.  But, as we get older and in the hopes of checking off an item on our bucket list by attending Denver’s Great American Beer Festival –without wives – we need to observe the way these “experts” suggest.    

  There are three things to take into consideration when “tasting” a beer; appearance, smell and taste.    This leads us to the first rule in this fine art “Never drink the beer from a can or bottle”.    To be able to assess the three areas, beer must come in a clean glass, free from detergent residue.  You can’t have anything on the glass that might interfere and not allow you to really appreciate the beer in its purest form.   

APPEARANCE.  When rating the appearance, you are looking at the clarity, color and head of the beer.   The glass of beer must appear picturesque sitting there, teasing.  Your mouth and tongue must yearn for it.   Your notice good head retention, it is not overwhelming but the head is there.  Lift the glass toward the light.  The color and clarity is correct in-accordance with the style of beer that is being tasted.  This may require a little research. But, is it really work when you are researching an item you really love?

SMELL.  Knowing that your nose and its ability to smell odors is much more sensitive that your ability to taste flavors, it very important to smell the beer.  Lift the glass to your nose, concentrate and inhale.  Appreciate the aroma.  Notice the dominant scent, then the secondary scent.  You should be able to recognize the malt and hops.   If everything has melded, your body should be craving to drink the beer.     During the smell stage, you might observe a skunky odor that suggests a bacterial infection or an imperfect beer.  If this is the case,  you might not want to put your tongue through the agony of tasting the skunky beer. 

TASTE.  Now for the step you have been waiting for.  There are three areas of taste to be assessed; flavor, mouthfeel and aftertaste.   To evaluate the flavor, sip the beer, letting the beer sit in your mouth.  Don’t swallow.  Breathe through your nose to allow the sense of smell to enhance your taste sense.  Go ahead and swallow. To assess the mouthfeel take a second sip. Evaluate how the beer feels in the mouth.  Is it dense, oily or sticky?  Is it warm, light or highly carbonated?  Is the beer satisfying to the mouth or not?  To assess the aftertaste, it is the flavor and length of the taste once it leaves the mouth.  This is a very critical component of taste and should fall in line in what is expected from the style of the beer. 

Now you have tasted beer in-accordance-with the Fine Art of Beer Tasting.  You can now be considered a beer connoisseur.  The only way to become a better connoisseur is through practice.  So, I am off to the refrigerator to grab a beer.  Pop, gulp “AAAHHHHHHHH”.  Ok, I used the gulp method, because I classified the writing of this article as work. CHEERS!