Bottoms Up: 4 Tips for Becoming a Better Beer Drinker

published Jun 6, 2011
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Tasty and exciting new beers are popping up all the time — check out Emma’s ongoing Beer Sessions series for a few ideas — but are you taking the right steps to properly enjoy that bottle of craft beer? Salon recently spoke with a handful of beer experts to get some advice on better beer drinking.

Pour it in a glass. According to Ray Daniels, who runs one of the country’s only beer sommelier certification programs, aroma is key, since it is 85 percent of what we register as flavor. Left in a bottle, the smell of beer is trapped, and you’ll miss out on the hundreds of chemical compounds your nose can detect.

Pay attention. No one chants “Chug! Chug! Chug!” when someone is drinking a glass of wine, and beer should be given the same consideration. Thinking about color, flavor characteristics and mouthfeel as you drink will help “parse your palate,” according to one beer sommelier.

Build your vocabulary. New Belgium Brewing Co. runs a sensory training program to help staffers talk about beer like professionals. Head brewer Lauren Salazar sees it as second grade all over again:

One way Salazar helps trainees do just that is to isolate one flavor characteristic at a time. Trainees taste it over and over again, while simultaneously talking about what compound — freshly cut grass, resin or orange peel — they are experiencing, just like when you were memorizing colors and letters as a grade schooler.

Drink a lot of beer. The best tip! Taste as many different beers as you can and use your new found beer vocabulary to talk about beer with friends.

Read the article: How to enjoy your beer

Do you have any tips for becoming a better beer drinker?