The 5 Step Process to Tasting Beer Like a Professional

barsHave you ever wondered what the craft beer trend is all about? In a market worth $19.6 billion dollars, there seem to be so many good craft beers that it is hard to differentiate between them all. What is an IPA? A stout? A pale ale?

We’ve all been there, hopping around to different bars on a Friday night trying to find the best local watering holes available. Many people, when they want an adult beverage, choose beer to drink, as in 2014 41% of U.S. drinkers reported drinking beer compared to the 31% who drink wine and the 23% who choose liquor. Ever want to learn how to taste beer like a professional? Follow these five steps and soon you’ll be able to frequent those craft beer bars more often!

1.A quick sniff and a quick look
It is important to pour a beer into the proper glass so its aromas can be released. Once it is poured, quickly move the glass under your nose and inhale. Think of it as a ‘drive by’ sniff, so you can get a sense of the beer’s flavor profile.

During this drive by, you should look at the beer’s clarity and color. The colors will tell you a lot about the taste of the beer. Light or pale ales are grainy, amber ones taste toasty, brown has roasted nut and chocolate flavors, and black-colored quaffs offer burnt toast and coffee flavors.

2. Swirl it
Hold your hand over your glass and give the beer a light swirl. This will release the true aromas, allowing you to get a deeper scent. Afterwards, go ahead and inhale.

3. Take a sip with the front part of your tongue, and hold the beer in your mouth for a few seconds
This will give you a full bodied taste of all the different aspects of the beer. Use this time to identify the more subtle notes, and you may taste cloves, fruit, caramel, coffee, or oak.

4. Take a large sip directly to the back of your throat
This will give you an impression of how the beer tastes when you drink it regularly. You should be able to identify the broad flavors, whether the beer is acidic, salty, sweet, or bitter. Be prepared, the beer will be cold. Typically, all U.S. beer refrigeration equipment in bars are designed to store beer between 34 and 38 degrees Fahrenheit.

5. Enjoy your beer
Now that the hard work is done, go ahead and enjoy that beautiful beer in front of you!