Beer is a drink for every occasion, but in order to truly experience beer one must store, pour, and taste beer correctly. Whether you’re running a bar, getting ready for a party, or just making your own beer experience the best it can be, it’s important to learn how to do it the right way. By following the correct method for each of these steps, one can truly engage in a flavor experience that enhances the natural flavors of the beer. Read on to learn how to taste beer, store it, and pour it too!
Just like any other alcoholic beverage, beer can get better with age, and can definitely be stored over long periods of time. Have a favorite limited edition or seasonal beer? Stock up and then store your beer correctly to be able to enjoy it year-round. You might even find you like the new flavor your beer gets once it is aged a bit in storage.
Avoid Heat and Light
While in storage, beer should not come in contact with heat or direct light. Generally, the higher the alcohol content of the beer, the higher the storage temperature. Most beers can be stored at 50-55º ideally. If beer is too cold then it can have less carbonation, aroma, and flavor. Remedy this by waiting for the beer to return to room temperature. This allows the beer to regain its unique flavor. Some exposure to light is alright for beer, but extended exposure to sunlight can harm the yeast in the beer. This is known as light-struck or skunk beer. Simply store beer in a refrigerator indoors to avoid this issue.
While some might argue that beer should be stored horizontally, like wine, that is in fact untrue. A beer that is stored upright will benefit more form its time in storage. There are numerous reasons why one should store their beers upright. The inside of a beer bottle has its own unique humidity level, the bottle will not dry out if it is stored upright—this means that the argument of laying the beer down to ensure the liquid touches the cork to prevent the beer from drying out is not correct. The cork does not act as a sponge. A horizontal storage method can expose the beer to the cork for an extended period of time which can create a dull tasting beer. Upright storage decreases the amount of exposed beer, which slows the oxidation process.
A proper pouring method can truly enhance the flavors of the beer. If one wants to get the most flavor out of their beer experience, then they surely must pour it correctly. Before pouring, one should note that it is ideal to serve the beer at the temperature it is stored at. Always serve beer in a glass. This glass must be a clean glass so as not to inhibit the flavor of the beer with dirt, oils, or residuals from previous beer.
The Right Angle
To begin pouring, hold the beer at a 45° angle and aim the beer at the middle slope of the glass. While pouring one should add some air (or space) between the bottle and the glass. Half way through the pouring process the glass should be held at a 90° angle instead of 45°. This will create the perfect foam head. A foam head will release the beer’s aromatics and will add to the overall presentation of the beer.
To provide the most complete sensory journey with beer, one should adhere to the following steps when tasting.
- Look at the beer, and admire it. Do not hold it in direct light since too much light will dilute its true color. It is important to describe all aspects of its appearance: color, head, and consistency.
- Agitate the beer, do this gently to pull out the beer’s aromas, slight nuances, loosen & stimulate carbonation and test retention.
- Smell the beer. Smell is a primary sense that is the key to most experiences. First breathe through your nose with two quick sniffs, and then breathe in only though your mouth. This will create a complete sensory experience. Ensure that the beer that doesn’t have overpowering aromas, if it does agitate the beer once more.
- Taste the beer. Sip it slowly and do not swallow immediately. Allow the beer to cover as many taste buds as possible. Take note of the liquid’s body, while also breathing out during the tasting. Try to detect all the flavors of sweetness, saltiness and bitterness.
To learn more about all the ways to enjoy beer be sure to read our blog, or attend any of our educational beer tastings at Julio’s Liquors in Westborough, MA. Our staff will use their expertise to help you find the perfect beer to begin your sensory journey!