by Alain Schepers Blogger at Bierista.nl
It’s hard to make choices- there are so many beers out there. Which beers should you go for? Make sure you choose a theme beforehand, as that’ll give you a good foundation.
We have some pre-packed cases to make things a little easier. You could base your tasting theme on one brewer and use the Lagunitas Editions Beer Case or explore the traditional Dutch beer profile with the Sweet Dutch Sipper Case. Both, along with some other suggestions below, are already packaged and ready to go. Or, you can also opt for six beers of the same style, six different Tripels or IPAs. This is a very interesting way to do it, because you then get to distinguish the differences between beers from the same style!
Another way of doing it is to individually choose beers from, for example, Belgium. Start off with the Limburgse Witte it's white, light and fruity. Secondly, a good one to sample would Mort Subite Gueuze, a relatively low ABV, sweet-sour lambic. Then perhaps go for Liefmans Fruitesse, a cherry sour or Rodenbach Classic. Then pick a few Blonds, Belfort 8, De Koninck Wild Jo, Judas and Pauwel Kwak, as examples. Finally, finish off with something strong but and spicy like Corsendonk Agnus Tripel, Arend Tripel ,or Jessenhofke TRPL. You could always try the classic Belgian abbey beer, Post Tripel, but approach this with caution, it's very strong. Bear in mind, six half bottles is absolutely max per person for a tasting.
In which order?
You’ve got the beers ready, but which order should you be tasting them in? The two most important factors to consider are as follows:
- The alcohol percentage
- The flavour intensity
As a general rule, you arrange the beers from lowest to highest alcohol percentage. Now look closely at the flavour intensity. Then you want to look at colour and hoppiness. Light before dark, light hopped before heavenly hopped and so on. It might be also that a beer with a lower percentage has an intensely strong flavour from the addition of herbs, for example. If a beer has a strong flavour intensity, move it up a spot.
Beer tasting glasses
For a tasting, you want to try 15 cl of beer. There are special glasses you can buy for beer tastings, such as the AnDer. It's the perfect glass for beer tastings, because aromas remain preserved in the round shape of the glass and its narrow top. An ordinary small, tulip-shaped wine glasses would also do the trick.
If you’re going to try six beers, ideally you want six glasses. However, that requires a lot of glasses. Have a short break after three beers to rinse out your glasses for the second half.
What are we eating?
When tasting beer, you’ll want something to eat. First of all, it’s important to neutralise your palette after tasting beer. A piece of white baguette works as a cleanser but a cracker (without added flavouring) is the best. This ensures you’ll be ready for your next round.
It’s also nice to have some bites during a tasting, especially if you've picked strong, Belgian beers to try. This doesn’t have to be complicated, the simplest and tastiest is the classic cheese board. Fresh sheep's cheese with a white beer, mild cheddar or emmental with lager, an IPA with a strong cheddar or even blue. A saison will pair beautifully with camembert too! Dark chocolate often goes well with heavy, dark beers, such as a Rochefort 10 or the popular combo, dark chocolate and Pohjala Must Kuld. You can find a few suggestions on our blog.
Beer tasting notes
Beer tasting should mostly be about fun. But it’s also good to learn something from the experience. Beerwulf has developed a special tasting form that you can use during your tasting session. Sample and discuss what you see, smell and taste. Everyone will have a different taste experience, there are no wrong answers!
Keep on tasting, there’s so much to discover!