While wine tasting parties have grown in popularity over the years, beer tasting is still relatively unknown. That's changing fast and you'll find out why if you host your own. A beer tasting party a great way to spend time with friends.
Beer tasting parties are usually small gatherings. Experts suggest between four and ten guests as the best number to invite, but beer tasting can also be a big event. There are some public television stations and other charities that have had beer tasting events as fund raisers!
The main rules for a beer tasting are to sample good beers and to have fun. The atmosphere is relaxed. It's a party!
Unlike wine tasting, to taste beer you need to actually drink the brew. Part of the taste comes from the taste buds at the very back of your tongue and the best way to get the full flavor is to swallow a few sips. Use wide goblets that let the aroma reach your nose before you drink. Traditional thin beer glasses don't allow the scents of the beer to greet you as you raise the glass to drink. Like wine tasting, to really appreciate a good beer you'll need to use your eyes and nose as well as your taste buds.
For a beer tasting, the glasses are not completely filled. Each sample should be no more than a third of a cup. Experiment with water to see how much you should pour. It depends on the size and shape of your glasses. You'll need two 12-ounce bottles of each beer for every eight people.
Make sure that your glasses are beer clean. Any soapy residue can alter the look and taste of a good beer.
Set up the beer menu so that your tasting runs from the lightest flavors to the heaviest. Beer colors are not as important as flavors.
Remember that not all light colored beers are light tasting beers. Put the highest alcohol content beers at the end of the list or your guests may not get the full enjoyment of all of the beers.
You may want to offer beers and ales of similar color and taste to distinguish the sensations, scents and flavors of different fermentation methods; pick several countries for an international beer tasting; taste a range of light to dark lagers or you might just want to provide a wide selection of unusual lagers from local micro-breweries or your local shops.
a set of beer tasting scoring sheets for each beer. You'll want one for each guest and one for you so that everyone can make notes and save the sheets. You can make a folder for each guest. Include the menu for your beer tasting party, the beers you chose to taste and scoring sheets for the party with a few extra in case your guests want to take notes on beers they drink at home.
If you choose beers that have been reviewed by professionals, why not add a copy of each review to the folder so your guests can see whether they agreed with the "expert" reviews? Don't let them read the reviews before the tasting or you may find that they form opinions of the beer before it gets tasted!
Remind your guests not to wear colognes or perfumes since these scents can make it harder to appreciate the brews you are tasting. Set out water to "cleanse the palate" between beers and provide mild snacks that won't interfere with tasting the beers.
Many people still enjoy smoking a cigarette when they're drinking beer. Have a designated area for your smoking guests so the nonsmokers can enjoy the aroma of the beer. Be sure to invite non-drinking guests as designated drivers or make other arrangements so that everyone gets home safely after the party.
If you want to serve more food try a selection of crudités, fruits, mild
cheeses and pates. Another idea for a long, enjoyable beer tasting evening is to serve a multi course meal pairing different beers
with each course.
Follow the suggestions and ideas you'll find here for great beers and great beer tasting parties...
Beer Tasting Tips - Appraising Taste Profiles - From Bella Online a guide to beer tasting with a good how-to, some flavors you'll encounter and links to Training Your Taste Buds, Assessing Appearance, Evaluating Aroma, Judging Mouthfeel, Overall Impression & Drinkability and Flat Beer Off Flavors & Stale Ale.
Beer Tasting: The World's Best, and Priciest - NPR presents a beer tasting with Michael Jackson. This is not a beer tasting "party", but the sampling they go through may give you an idea of what to serve and what to expect at your beer tasting event.
How to Host a Beer Tasting - Heavy on the ads, this site is filled with enough good information to make a visit worthwhile. Sally's Place offers a guide to throwing a beer tasting party from an experienced hostess and includes a few good books to add to your online beer party prep.