ABQ Beer Tours

Guided Tours of Albuquerque's Exciting Beerscape

How to Taste Beer

Knowing how to appreciate beer can enhance your experience. Of course, there are some times when you’re just going to mindlessly chug your pint, paying little attention to flavor, mouthfeel, appearance or anything other than it being cold and wet. But, you’re missing out. 

Slow down. Take a breath. Remember, beer is not just about alcohol. You’re too old, nay, too sophisticated, for that. You deserve to enjoy it. 

Put it in your nose. Put it in your eyes. Put it in you mouth. Think about it. Beer is a wonderfully interesting beverage. So much is going on, even in the simplest beer, even in the cheapest, lightest, macro-lager, not that I recommend drinking those. 

  • Smell it. Think about what you smell. Does it smell sweet? Grassy? Hoppy? Malty? Sour? Fruity? Goat-like? Yeah, that’s a thing in some beers, and it’s not always bad.
  • Look at it. What color is it? Is it bright and clear? Could you read the newspaper through it? Is it hazy, cloudy, turbid, opaque? Is the color uniform, or are there highlights, particularly when you hold it up to the light? How does the head look? Rocky? Lacy? Persistent? Thin? Fading? Delicate?
  • Sip it. What’s it taste like? Is it sweet? Malty? Sour? Bitter? Spicy? Fruity? Is it strong? Mild? Assertive? Harsh? Delicate? How does it finish? Does it linger on the tongue? Does it leave you wanting more? How does you perception of the aroma change now that it’s in your mouth. Our sense of smell is complex, and a great deal of it happens when things are in the mouth. Aroma is perceived in the mouth, too. Wow. 
  • Feel it in your mouth. Is it smooth? Silky? Unctuous? Thin? Prickly? How’s the carbonation? Spritzy? Low? Round? Creamy? Is it full-bodied? Medium? Light? 
  • Sip it again, but don’t swallow it. Let it sit in your mouth until it warms up. How does temperature change the aroma, taste, mouthfeel? 

Do you appreciate the beer more? Great. Now you can chug you beer mindlessly. But if you have another, go back to the top. Even if it’s the same beer. Your perception of the same beer will change over time. 

If you want to learn more about tasting beer, you should book a tour. I can help you. 

You could also read Randy Mosher’s Tasting Beer: An Insider’s Guide to the World’s Greatest Drink. It’s a really good book. 

Or, you could read this article, but a tour would be more fun: https://www.beeradvocate.com/beer/101/taste/

Tasting beer
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