Note: This is the 2nd post in a 5-part series called Beer Newbie Missions,a guide on how to like beer.
After Mission #1 you should now have a good place to buy craft beers with a staff that will help you make the right choice.
Now that finding beer is no longer a problem, it is time to start appreciating it. And we are going to do that by taking notes.
Why Take Beer Notes?
Getting your thoughts on paper (or computer) is the best way to learn more about beer. The reason is that it forces you to think about what you are drinking as opposed to playing the “how fast can I get it to my bladder” game (fun on occasion, but not what we’re after).
Don’t worry, if this sounds like a high school homework assignment, be assured that we’re not talking about a 5,000 word essay. The goal is just to get your thoughts down, whether that be a few words on the back of a napkin or a few lengthy paragraphs.
If you’re like me and want a framework to guide you, then I strongly suggest you sign up for the BillyBrew newsletter and from which you’ll immediately get my beer tasting guide. It walks you through how to do a beer review and most importantly, gives you 121 “beer words” you can use to describe your beer.
Using the beers listed below as a test subjects, write down what you think about them. Here are the characteristics you should evaluate:
- Appearance – The color, both of the beer and the head. Also describe the foam. Is it big or small? Tan or white?
- Aroma – The smell of the beer. Try to identify hop, malt, and yeast smells.
- Taste - Usually similar to the smell. Can you pick out the ingredients? What foods do they remind you of?
- Mouthfeel – Thick and chewy or thin and light? Too carbonated?
- Overall Impression – How did you like it? Would you drink another?
I know at first everything can taste the same and you might think, “Well it just tastes like beer”, but that will change. Again, the beer descriptor words in the tasting guide really help with that.
Beer Review/Ratings Websites
These websites have reviews and ratings from thousands of users. See what other people have to say about a beer or look up the top rated beers in the world.
Other BillyBrew Resources
- How to Review Beer – A post where I walk you through reviewing the Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA.
- A Great Way to Keep Track of your Beer Reviews – This is a video I did for another beer blogger about the tool I use to record my reviews. After using half a dozen different ways (including the beer rating websites) I’ve finally found one I’m 100% happy with.
Beers to Buy
How did the beers in Mission #1 work out? Not too extreme, right?
The beers to buy in Mission #2 are slightly more flavorful, but still shouldn’t be a problem for newbies to handle. We are going to drink a stout, brown ale, and red or amber ale. These are all more malt-heavy beers that bring more variety and intensity of flavors than you are probably used to. The stouts in particular have a roasted, coffee-like flavor that some people love but for others takes some getting used to.
If these beers are a breeze and you’re itching to go bigger, then just wait until Mission #3. We’re going to take off the training wheels and start getting into the land of the bold.
- Brown Ale
- Red/Amber Ale
You are progressing nicely. We might just make a good beer drinker out of you yet!
Check in by leaving a comment below once you finish Mission #2.