Tasting Beer Like a Pro in 5 easy steps.

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beer tasting

A Guide to Craft Beer Appreciation

In the world of craft beer, every pint tells a story. From hoppy IPAs to rich stouts, each style offers a unique tapestry of flavors waiting to be discovered. Tasting beer isn’t just about quenching your thirst; it’s about experiencing the full spectrum of aromas, flavors, and textures that brewers pour their hearts into creating. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you taste beer like a seasoned professional, blending science and critical appreciation with a touch of enjoyment.

The Evolution of Beer Tasting

Gone are the days when beer was synonymous with chuggable, mass-produced lagers. The craft beer revolution has introduced a diverse array of styles and tastes, inviting beer enthusiasts to explore and savor each brew. While you don’t have to approach every beer like a glass of fine wine, certain beers deserve more than just a casual sip.

The Role of the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP)

The Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) has played a pivotal role in elevating the standards of beer tasting. Founded in 1985, this non-profit organization certifies beer judges who sanction beer events and competitions globally. With over 3,000 certified judges, the BJCP has developed a systematic approach to beer evaluation that you can incorporate into your tasting rituals.

The Professional Beer Tasting Method

To truly appreciate a beer’s nuances, follow this step-by-step tasting method inspired by BJCP judges. These techniques will help you savor every sip at your favorite brewery, whether you’re enjoying a tasting paddle at a brewery in Morisset or Lake Macquarie, like us at Lake Mac Brewing Co. or any local brewpub.

Step 1 - The Perfect Pour

Start with a clean glass to avoid any residual flavors or aromas from previous drinks. While any glass will suffice, a tulip glass is ideal for concentrating the beer’s aroma and maintaining its head.

High Carbonation:
Tilt the glass slightly and pour slowly to control the foam.
Low Carbonation: Pour straight into the center to agitate the beer and create a head.

Step 2 - Engage Your Senses


Hold your glass up to the light and examine the beer’s appearance. Note the color, clarity, and the size and persistence of the head. Different styles exhibit distinct visual characteristics, from the golden clarity of a pilsner to the opaque darkness of a stout. Visiting your local brewery in Morisset, Lake Mac Brewing Co for a tasting paddle is an excellent way to explore and compare these variations.


Swirl the beer gently in the glass to release its aromatic compounds. Place your nose close to the rim and inhale deeply. You might detect a range of scents, from floral hops to roasted malts. Warming the beer slightly in your hands can enhance these aromas. If the scents are still elusive, cover the top of the glass with your palm, swirl for a few seconds, then take another sniff.

Diver Deeper

Swirl the beer again and take another sniff. This second round of smelling allows you to catch additional aromas that might have developed as the beer warms and aerates. Compare these to your initial impressions and note any changes or new discoveries.

Step 3 - Taste

Now comes the moment you’ve been waiting for – tasting. Take a small sip and let the beer coat your entire mouth. Focus on the following aspects:

Initial Flavors: The immediate taste that hits your palate.

Intermediate Flavors: The evolving flavors as the beer moves through your mouth.

Aftertaste: The lingering flavors after you’ve swallowed.

As you swallow, exhale gently through your nose to capture any volatile compounds released during the process. This technique can reveal subtle notes that may not be apparent initially.

Step 4 -Assess the Mouthfeel

Take another sip and concentrate on the beer’s texture and weight. Is it light and effervescent, or full-bodied and creamy? Compare its mouthfeel to other beers of the same style you’ve tried before. This step helps you understand the beer’s composition and how it fits within its category.

Step 5 - Enjoy and Reflect

Finally, take a moment to appreciate the beer as a whole. Relax and take a deep breath. Smell and taste the beer once more. Consider how it stands in the overall range of beers you’ve experienced. Where does it rank among similar styles? This reflection is key to developing a deeper appreciation and understanding of different beers.

Why Tasting Matters

Understanding how to taste beer critically enriches your drinking experience. It allows you to connect more deeply with the craft behind each brew and appreciate the subtle artistry that goes into brewing. Plus, it can be a fun and rewarding way to explore new beers and expand your palate.

Explore Local Breweries

Visiting a local brewpub or brewery in Morisset, Lake Mac Brewing Co. offers an excellent opportunity to practice your tasting skills. Enjoy a tasting paddle to sample a variety of styles and refine your appreciation for the craftsmanship in each brew. These experiences not only enhance your palate but also support local businesses that contribute to the vibrant craft beer community.

Join the Conversation

Beer tasting isn’t just for judges and experts. It’s a communal experience that anyone can enjoy. Share your thoughts and discoveries with friends or join a local tasting group. Who knows? You might find a new favorite brew or even inspire others to dive into the world of craft beer.


By incorporating these professional techniques into your beer-tasting routine, you’ll not only enhance your enjoyment but also gain a greater appreciation for the complexities and innovations that define the craft beer world. So, the next time you pour yourself a pint, take a moment to explore its story – one sip at a time.


Feel free to share this blog with your beer-loving friends and family, or use it as a guide for your next tasting adventure!

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