Want to have a hassle-free tasting session from the comfort of your home?! Or, better yet, want to try a beer tasting with your friends? Yes, this is still possible with a virtual beer tasting! We may be in lockdown, but that shouldn’t hold you back from doing what you love. In fact, there is even more reason, pubs are closed so it’s the perfect time to brush up on some skills. We've got some great tips and easy steps to get you and your buddies beer tasting like professionals (whilst staying at home!).
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 around one of the many Beer Challenge Cases, beers from around the world or Trappist and Abbey beers. Or, you can also opt for beers of the same style, by buying a case of either lagers 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 choose beers from one country, for example, Belgium, we have a Belgian Beer Tasting Case that was designed just for this! We have a number of beer cases that would suit this style of beer tasting.
Make sure you always start lighter and lower and gradually work your way up. The lightest taste and the lowest ABV beers should always start. Also 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.
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. We also have some tasting segments for reference to guide your discussions and understanding. Everyone will have a different taste experience, there are no wrong answers!
Keep on tasting, there’s so much to discover!