The Beer-Tasting Cheat Sheet for Wine Lovers

July 15, 2010 § 1 Comment

Can you swirl, sniff and sip a  beer?

Yep, after all, wine tastings and beer tastings are very similar.

Okay, maybe you wouldn’t swirl your beer (no one wants an overly-foamy brew, after all), but beer and wine are both fermented, aged, alcoholic beverages, so you experience and evaluate them the same way: based on appearance, aroma and taste (flavor, mouthfeel and finish). And the whole reason for tasting them is the same as well: to explore the many varieties and to find out what you like.

But if you’ve never done a beer tasting, here’s a quick, wine lover’s cheat sheet to tasting beer.

Appearance – What color is the beer in your glass? Beer comes in a variety of colors and levels of opacity – from straw-colored pilsners, to dark chocolate-colored stouts, to amber-colored ales and everything in between. Is the beer clear or cloudy (unfiltered)? Is the head (foam) thick or thin, and does it linger and leave rings around your glass as you drink or quickly disappear?

Aroma – Smell your beer right after pouring. Is the aroma strong or muted? Does it smell sweet, earthy, nutty, herbal, floral or spicy?

Flavor – Is the beer “hoppy,” as in bitter, crisp, or acidic? Is the beer “malty,” with roasted, sweet, nutty, coffee or caramel flavors?

Mouthfeel – Mouthfeel ranges from light and watery, to thick and chewy. Is the beer light, medium or full-bodied? Body, in beer, is determined by how much malt sugar has been converted into sugar, and fuller-bodied beer have more residual sugar than light-bodied ones.

Finish – Does the taste of the beer linger long after you’ve swallowed or does it disappear almost instantly? Is the aftertaste pleasant? Is it similar to the flavor the beer had in your mouth?

Impression – Lastly and most importantly, answer this question: did you enjoy the beer you just had? Because THIS is what really matters.

Now, ready to taste some of the finest, hand-crafted beers from around the nation? Then check out Magnolias at the Mill’s Beer Festival.

I just might see you there… 🙂

– Suzanne

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