Tasting Guidelines Revisited
The number one thing that has gone amuck with beer tasting is that people are forgetting the fundamental reason why we drink beer in the first place. Drinking beer is supposed to be interactive and it’s supposed to be enjoyable. We have succumbed to the geeks and the know-it-alls and collectively decided that knowing about beer is just as important as the actual experience of drinking it. Drinking beer is becoming more about categorization than appreciation; beer is becoming more about conformity than about enjoyment. We should change this. We should put beer back in the hands of the drinker and let them choose what they enjoy. Sure, learning about an amazing and complex product can help you enjoy it. Understanding the history and the origins of a particular style will give you the foundation to appreciate something new or esoteric, but as a beer community we should also celebrate consuming beer that is good and fresh right now.
I’m not saying we should go back to drinking boring yellow macro crap. I’m saying that people should be encouraged to drink great crafted beer and explore style as they so choose. We have become snobby and judgmental towards people who don’t enjoy big IPA’s or who cannot identify with Belgian-style sour beers. All palates develop differently and how people identify with flavour is very personal and subjective. We need to educate and incubate new beer enthusiasts so that boring beer and its marketing don’t regain their previous momentum. New beer drinkers are intimidated by tyrannical overzealous beer nerds.
Now back to actually tasting the beer. I agree that to truly enjoy all the subtle nuances in great beer it should be served in appropriate glassware and it should be served at the proper temperature. You should first smell the beer and then hold it in your mouth before completely consuming the entirety of the sip. These are great suggestions for advanced beer tasting. If you want to take it further you can even grab some crackers, coffee beans and a blind fold. Another suggestion that will guarantee maximum enjoyment: beer should be appreciated with awesome people, a comfortable atmosphere, and great food. Maybe we should trade the new accompaniment of “pretentiousness” that has become a beer hall tasting staple for the old accompaniment of laughter and good times.