Wine Tasting without the Wine
Looking for a fun night out with a new twist? Maybe you’re having a casual night with friends over and you want to add a little fun. Instead of the traditional wine tastings, why not try a beer tastings? You are sure to have a great time and learn a little something too!
Here’s what you need to do to host your own beer tasting. First, get a collection of beers for your tasting. This can be the most overwhelming part. The easiest avenue to take is if you have a reputable beer retailer nearby you can ask to get some great advice on selecting various beers. Your retailer should be able to advise you on the serving order. If not, there are a few books recommended at the end of this article or just go to the store and have fun with it. Pick anything that looks interesting to you. You may want to pick a couple pale ales, seasonal beers, and a few dark beers. Some beer tastings consist of strictly micro brewed beers that go in order of lightest to darkest. There is no real rule you have to follow.
Next, plan to serve six to 12 different beers. A tasting often consists of 3 ounces of each beer per guest. Be sure to have extra beers for after the tastings for guests to enjoy. Be sure to have a pitcher of water and a “swill bucket” for rinsing the glasses each time similar to a wine tasting. Be sure to keep the beers chilled to about 55 to 45 degrees.
The last step is the ambiance. Provide each guest with a clear beer tasting glass, a glass of water and a pen and paper or stylish notebook for notes. A fun touch is to give each guest a beer menu which lists each beer in the tasting order. A nice little extra is to have some light food. Pairing food with certain beers can be fun as well. You can do a buffet assortment of breads and crackers, cheeses, and fruits. You can incorporate deli meats or anything else you choose.
Now all you need to do is invite a group of friends over and have a good time. Next time you’re out a restaurant that offers different untraditional beers such as HideAway Country Inn, you’ll be knowledge and impress those around you.
Recommended readings for hosting a tasting and evaluating beer:
Beer Basics: A Quick and Easy Guide
by Peter LaFrance
Published by John Wiley & Sons, New York
A Taste for Beer
by Stephen Beaumont
Published by Storey Communications, Pownal, Vt.