Ale Appreciation

Hosting a wine tasting is an exciting yet potentially calamitous endeavor: The fear of guests spitting into Lenox china or swirling the contents of their stemware on the carpet is real. There’s also anxiety about correctly pronouncing the names of fluttery French burgundies and consonant-rich German Rhine wines, things you’d never worry about while hosting a beer tasting.
Text by Rony Mo | May 27, 2018 | Lifestyle

A prevailing misconception is that beer is all football and faux blondes when compared to the sophisticated mystique of viticulture. Many make the blanket statement, “I don’t like beer.” Which should be interpreted as, “I just say no to American lagers and European pilsners.” That’s where you come in…to provide beer education reform like the Horace Mann of hops. Anyone who’s ever seen Brew Masters on Discovery Channel knows that brewers experiment with flavors that hit every part of taste receptors; e.g. sweet (Milk Stout), sour (Berliner Weisse), salty (Gose), bitter (IPA) and umami (Rauchbier). It’s led to the revival of many an extinct recipe and spread regional specialties to every corner of the globe. But strarting your own cerveza sermon isn’t as tough as you might think.
First comes theme. Comparing the same beer as it has developed over the years is called a Vertical or Vintage Tasting. You could also compare one category collected from many breweries, but the most rewarding is a Horizontal or Multi-Style Tasting. This allows for a wider range of aromas and textures that even the staunchest wine or spirits aficionados will appreciate. There’s no golden rule, but serve the lightest in color, body & alcohol content first while saving the bitterest, darkest and most potent beverages for last.
Next comes the stock. Beers are bottled for every occasion and therefore available in numerous sizes between the 200-750 ml ranges. Serving multiple large-format, high-ABV varieties will ensure the event ends ahead of schedule with guests stumbling toward taxis. Conversely, pouring a single, standard-sized bottle each round will result in trivial pours. Aim for a balance of both.
When it comes to glassware, take the idea of the frosted beer mug and throw it into your mental recycling bin. Aim for 3-5 oz. wide-mouth glassware at room temperature to allow the hoppy, malty or effervescent scents of each style to swirl around your senses. Tumblers or wine glasses make great stand-ins when you can’t dash to a department store.
If you opt for a pairing scenario, delicate foods, like sushi, dissolve while intensely flavored ones, like jambalaya, overpower the palate. Think picnic foods like cheese, cold cuts, crackers, salads and spreads. Follow-up with rich chocolate truffles, bread pudding or drown a scoop of ice cream in anything labeled as imperial stout.
Let’s leave the turtlenecks and wine-teeth whitening strips back in 2014. There’s an abundance of world-class brews available online and shipped to your door at, and with reference tools like, your first tasting will be the fizziest of fests.