Monday, April 25, 2011

Tasting Beer

As I explored the depths to which I wanted to take this blog I realized that I had left out some key elements for readers.  For those who pick up this blog for the zombie movies and are a bit lost in the beer talk I’ve decided to back brief with some links.  If you walk into a beer store and see the isles filled with hundreds of types of beer you can get overwhelmed.  It’s good to get your bearing before you set off wandering the beer world.  The first link is for the Beer Judge Certification Guidelines Official Style Guidelines.  This is the official publication for all beer classes and specifications.  If you want to know how dark a Dunkelweizen is supposed to be or the IBUs in a Scottish Export just look in the good book.  It also gives a list of example beers so that you can drink the very flavors they are talking about.  At times it can be a little dry.  I mean, you are reading 51 pages of beer science.  It’s a good idea to review the guidelines and descriptions of the beer your sampling before you taste it.  This way you know what you’re looking for with each sip.

Now while that link will give you all the data you need and what to expect you should also check out the book Tasting Beer by Randy Mosher.  Tasting Beer is a beast of a book with flavor charts and descriptions of each type of malt and variety of hop.  It describes the difference between Cascade and Fuggle hops, Crystal and Munich malt, Belgian and English yeasts.  It was the single best resource I’ve come across for tasting beer.  For those who think that tasting beer is geeky and unnecessary I have a few words for you.  You can’t fully appreciate beer without knowing what you’re drinking.  When most people first start drinking beer they could sit in front of a full flight of 8 samples and not be able to tell much of a difference between most of them.  Sure someone would know a stout and an IPA but they would miss the finer things.  The more you know and the more experienced of a taster you are the more things you will be able to pick out of a beer.  Soon an English Pale Ale and American Pale Ale will seem as different and unique as steak and chicken.
I want to warn those that are reading my blog that I don’t normally drink smaller beers.  I’m addicted to flavor.  I drink Barleywines, Imperial Stouts, Double IPA’s, and such.  If you’re not really into beer it’s going to be really hard to jump right in.  These beers are definitely an acquired taste.  In my first year drinking beer hoppy beers were too bitter and turned my stomach.  Even the most mild IPA would make me green (pun intended).  Almost everybody has a gateway beer.  For me Sierra Nevada opened my world up to what awesome American hop goodness can do.  The key is not to give up.  Don’t tell yourself that you don’t like Hoppy beer.  You might and you just don’t realize it.


Post a Comment