Remember when the world was normal and we took beer for granted?
We could pop to our local brewery to try new beers, order flights at the bar to sample different brews, and even hold our own at-home beer tastings.
Yeah, we remember that, too.
But now, the world is a dumpster fire, and the simple pleasure of getting together with your mates to taste some new brews is about as likely as you being the first person on Mars (sorry to burst your bubble).
Luckily, a while ago some dude invented the internet and it turns out it’s useful for more than whatever it is you use your private browser for.
Online beer tasting is a thing. It’s a fun thing. Do the thing.
Have we convinced you? Great. Here’s how to throw what is basically an elevated booze-up masquerading as educational drinking.
How to Throw a Beer Tasting
As you might have guessed, a beer tasting is an event where you taste beers. Mindblowing stuff, huh? Beer tastings are one of our all-time favorite things. What’s not to love: beer, mates, snacks, and some (very) light learning.
Even if you’re not a beer expert, you can still host a killer tasting session. Here’s how:
Pick Your Team
Choose your participants wisely. Your guest list has the power to make or break a tasting, so be brutal and make sure you invite the right folks. Ideally, gather a small group of people who love beer and want to learn more about it.
Got a friend that only drinks Coors Light? Ditch him. Does your sister already think she knows everything there is to know about craft beer? She can’t come. Does your spouse get hammered after one drink? Maybe lock them in another room while you do your tasting.
Get the Right Glasses
If you want to do things properly (why aren’t you doing things properly, what’s wrong with you?) you’re gonna need some killer glassware for your tasting. Something small is ideal, as beer tasting is about sipping not gulping. Go for a glass with a decent-size opening so you can get your nose right in there for all those aromas you’re going to want to note down.
Pick Your Beers
Obviously, each participant will need the same selection of brews to sample. Six is a good number to taste, and going over eight isn’t recommended unless you’re looking to get sloppy. It’s up to you whether you go for a wide range of beers (sours, porters, pilsners) or focus on one type (IPAs are a good shout).
Whatever your selection, make sure you taste them in the right order. Some brews overpower others and will make it difficult to taste subtler notes in lighter beers. Go from lightest to darkest and if you’re including sour beers leave those powerful SOBs ‘til last.
Where you source those brews is up to you. Support your local beer bar like the angel that you are by asking them to supply your drinks, or sign up for a beer subscription service and make your tastings a monthly thing.
Cleanse the Palate and Line the Stomach
Cleansing the palate between beers ensures that tastes don’t get muddled up (writing bitter for every brew likely means that you’re mashing up the flavors of your samples). Have water on hand to sip between samples; sparkling is preferable if possible. This also doubles up as a handy hangover protection device.
Speaking of hangover protection, make sure your stomach is well lined. If you’re basic, any bar-style snacks will do. If you’re fancy, go for snacks that pair with the beers you’ve chosen. If you love pizza, order pizza. Do what you want, just don’t drink on an empty stomach. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
The entire point of a beer tasting is to learn. It’s like school, but fun. And just like at school, you’re gonna need a worksheet.
Craftbeer.com’s free tasting sheet is the best tool we’ve found for recording your tasting notes. It gives prompts for notes on elements including aromas, flavors, and style. Send the link to your buddies ahead of time and get them to print one out for each beer you’ll be tasting.
That’s it. It’s that simple. Follow these simple steps and you’ve got yourself a very good excuse to sit around on your couch drinking multiple beers. You can thank us by inviting us to your next one.