But that puppy won’t stay small forever, and the sun will eventually set. Beer, however, is here to stay. And there are so many things to love about it. My favorite is its ability to fit any occasion, puppies or not.
It can be as simple as cracking open a can on the porch, or as fancy as carefully pairing your beer flavor for flavor with a particular meal. Simple drinking needs no explanation, so let’s get fancy!
Before you go sporting a beer mustache that rivals a 1990s got milk ad, consider a few things…
1. Choose A Beer You Will Enjoy
I encourage anyone to try something new, but if you don’t like spicy food, a chocolate chili porter probably isn’t your best choice. Take your time with your selection, and do some research, try a sample, or ask questions before you order or purchase something you’re not familiar with.
2. Drink Fresh
If you’re drinking bottled or canned beer, check the date code. It’s usually listed as a “best by” or “bottled/packaged on” date in the form of mm/dd/yy. Some breweries utilize unique date codes, but they can be cracked with a little bit of google searching. There are a few styles of beer that are better when aged, but most are best consumed fresh.
3. Beer Clean Glass
Proper cleaning, sanitizing, and drying will insure the best drinking vessel for your beer. A beer clean glass should leave rings of lacing behind as you drink, and should not show patches of bubbles clinging to the inside of the glass.
4. Proper Glassware
If you’ve been consuming beer straight from a can or bottle, you’re missing out of the full appearance and aroma the beer has to offer. A tulip glass will work well with most styles, but there are some that require a specific type of glass to get the best experience. Breweries often sell branded glassware that is designed to enhance the attributes of their flagship beer.
5. Proper Temperature
Don’t you dare drink that stout straight out of the fridge! Cold temperatures inhibit our ability to taste and smell. Ever wonder why a certain macro-brewery has a marketing campaign that claims their beer is “as cold as the Rockies”? They’re putting refreshment over flavor, and I don’t think that’s quite America’s thing anymore. People want to taste their beer in 2015! Do a quick internet search, and find out what temperature your beer is best served at. The general rule of thumb is the darker the beer, the warmer the serving temperature.
6. From The Source
Whenever geographically possible, enjoy your beer fresh from the brewery that made it. The shorter the distance your beer had to travel to get to your glass, the better the chance of you having the freshest possible experience.
Avoid places with lots of noise, smells, or distractions that might give you sensory overload. Relaxing environments are best for paying attention to your beer. But really any place you feel most comfortable will work. For me, nothing beats watching the sunset with a fresh beer and friends after a long hike.
You just got that beer you’ve been waiting for all day, but don’t knock it back just yet. Stop and take a look. Hold it up to the light and admire the color or streams of bubbles rising from the bottom. Take a quick sniff of the complex aromas. Then drink it in. What does it taste like? Does it bring back any memories? Think about how the acidity nips at your tongue, or how the creaminess washes down like a milkshake. Finally, consider the aftertaste, and how it leaves you wanting another sip. Did it take you anywhere? You don’t have to think about all of this, but a little effort can give you a lot of enjoyment.
Still feel like you’re not getting enough from your beer? Pair it with food! Heck, some people even pair it with cigars. Or if you feel a connection between your beer and a piece of artwork, more power to you! I implore you to use anything at your disposal to make for a better experience.
My hope is that this list will help you get the most from something you already enjoy. If you get half way through a sensory evaluation of your beer and get bored with it, then stop and just drink the thing! These aren’t rules. If you enjoy your beer warm and straight from the can, then don’t let me stop you!
As always, share with a friend. If that friend is canine, share your company, not your beer! But human friends are fair game. =)