Beer Tasting Tips
So you’re going to a beer tasting? Congratulations. A beer tasting is a wonderful (some say magical) place where you can sample quality beers from home and around the world. To avoid looking like a newbie, follow these simple beer tasting tips.
Beer Tasting 101 – The drunkenness factor
A beer tasting is an opportunity to sample a wide variety of import and micro-brew beers. Chances are, with all the vendors that usually frequent beer tastings, you’ll have a lot of beer to consume. Unless you happen to be Hank the Tank, you will probably experience the full effects of inebriation. Remember though, a beer tasting is a gathering of gentlemen (and ladies) and your behavior should in turn be gentlemanly. A beer tasting is not the place to whip out your homemade beer-bong and pound an Irish Stout. Save that for another night.
Also, don’t worry too much about what you wear. Jeans and a t-shirt is perfectly acceptable at most tastings. If the tasting is open to the public, jeans and t-shirts are fine. If you are invited to a private tasting (you lucky dog), dress a little more formal, khakis and a polo should do.
Oh, and another thing- this isn’t a wine tasting. Don’t spit your beer out. If you don’t like your beer, swallow what’s in your mouth and pour the rest of the beer into a pot on the table. A word of warning: Be careful about pouring your beer out – there have been reports of confrontational Brewmaster’s pestering unsuspecting beer drinkers for pouring out their beer at the Brewmaster’s table.
We Want Beer – Get beer for “Free”
If you’re like me, going to a beer tasting is like a kid going to a candy shop. I just can’t wait to try all the different Ales and Lagers that are being offered. Sadly, many beer tastings restrict the amount of beer a visitor can consume by forcing visitors to use tickets to get their beer. Ideally, the ticket system works like cash. One ticket=one beer. Hand your ticket to a vendor, the vendor pours you a glass of beer. Seems like the perfect system for limiting the consumption of beer right?
Wrong. Vendors agree to participate in beer tastings because they want beer connoisseurs to put their name down on “the list” (more on that later). Due to the relatively small number of tickets that an individual receives, vendors can maximize the number of visitors they get to their table by giving away “free” (read: not asking for tickets) samples. Generally, during the first two-hours of a beer-tasting vendors offer “ticket-free” samples.
This unspoken rule provides an opportunity for connoisseurs to get their drink on without having to use any of their tickets. A word of caution: During this “two-hour window”, don’t make your tickets visible (this includes offering a vendor your ticket) this is a rookie mistake and vendors will feel pressured into taking your ticket. Keep your tickets in your pocket (or purse) and only offer up your ticket when it is asked for by a vendor. Also, if you really like a specific beer, wait a while (but not too long if it is a popular beer, as it might go fast) until you re-visit that vendors booth. If a vendor has supplied you with a free sample, he has given himself an opportunity for his beer to get on your “list”. If you keep pestering him for more free beer, the vendor will begin to view you as a leech and will certainly begin to charge you tickets.
“The list ” is the holy grail for vendors. Some say that “the list” is the only reason Brewmasters even agree to attend beer tastings.
The list is simply a sheet of paper that beer coinsures carry with them when they go to a tasting. Beers that
the connoisseurs particularly enjoy make it onto the list. At the end of the night, the connoisseur will have a list of beers that he will buy on his next beer run.
*** A tip for digitizing your “list” *** Maybe it’s just me, but once I exceed the 100oz mark, I find the whole pen and paper thing a nuisance. To avoid this annoyance, I use my cell phones camera to record beers that I enjoy. All you have to do is take a picture of either the label of the beer bottle, or the vendors signage to document your new beer of choice. This also provides the benefit of being able to carry “the list” with you at all times, as well as having a visual reference for what the bottle looks like.
Talk with the Brewmasters
Whenever I go to a beer tasting one of the things I always try and do is talk with the Brewmasters. By spending a few minutes talking with these folks, I have learned so much about the beer industry. One such conversation led to some free gear and an invitation to an insider’s only tasting. If you love beer, these guys are the superstars that make that beer possible. Talking with the Brewmasters and learning more about the beer industry is an opportunity and honor that shouldn’t be passed up.
Now that you have a generally idea of what to expect at a beer tasting, you’re prepared to experience a successful beer tasting.
Remember, stay classy, keep your tickets hidden, make a list of your favorite beers, talk with the men and women at the booth, and most of all- enjoy yourself. It is not every day that you get the opportunity to drink good beer and network with other knowledgeable beer coinsures.
This article is courtesy of Tim Smithson from Payday Loans Online and Payday Loans Houston, TX.
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