For some buying a pint of craft beer is a way to relax and enjoy themselves. For others drinking craft beer is best enjoyed as a process. A process that brings out the best in the beer’s nose, mouthfeel and flavor. The folks over at Wales Online gives this 5 step process as laid out by the UK’s top beer sommeliers.
1. TAKE IT SLOW
Most mainstream beers don’t have many hops and are light on the malt front – they’re meant to be drunk cold and quickly.
With craft beer the darker range of malt means a wider variation of flavours.
So sip it and enjoy the range of tastes within – the longer you take , the more the beer’s temperature rise, meaning that every time you go back to it the more aromas you can savour coming out.
2. CHEW IT (yes, really)
The left and right side of your tongue are where the bitter and sweet receptors are located, with salt at the front and the bitterness levels at the very back of the soft palate.
So keep it in your mouth, move it around – it sounds like you need to do it for a long time , but you really don’t.
3. BEER GOES BETTER WITH FOOD THAN WINE DOES
Without wanting to take anything away from wine, how we’ve been taught to believe it’s the perfect accompaniment with a meal is a bit of a Jedi mind trick.
Bring beer into that equation and you’ve got a whole new experience altogether.
Take cheese for example – let it melt in the ambient temperature of your mouth, then try a white or red wine – you’ll find it won’t cleanse your palate at all.
Whereas the natural carbonation of the beer and the bitterness of the hops cuts right through all that.
It’s also far less calorific than wine should you be watching your waistline
4. ALTER YOUR MOUTHFULS
You need to go ‘drink, food, drink’ – that way the the beer hits the palate and lets your senses know what’s coming down the track, then the flavour of the food hits it – BAM!
Follow that by washing your mouthful down with another hit of beer – you’ll be amazed when those two things come together.
That’s why so many gastro pubs are stocking more and more craft ales, they know how good a match they make for their dishes.
5. DON’T JUST STICK TO YOUR USUAL
For something like barbecue food or a burger try a sweet malty taste – like a Sharp’s Doom Bar.
For a fish dish such as tempura prawns crack open a pilsener – it uses a hop called Saaz which has a lemon zest aroma and produces small tight bubbles like the ones you get with champagne.
It helps cut through the batter and leads you to that big fish flavour.
General rule of thumb is ‘the lighter the food the lighter the beer’ – so for middle of the road meals like chicken try a red ale or a nice IPA because the citra hops give it a lovely grapefruity, tropical nose .
And for a rich meaty stew, try stout.