Once in a while, I do a low-key beer-tasting for friends or family. I let them pay a certain amount of money (for instance 10 euros each) for which I buy beer and snacks. I’ve done this a couple of times now so I can honestly say I’m an expert (just kidding), so I’m happy to share my thoughts. Keep in mind that these are tips for a casual beer tasting with people who like beer, but are no experts in craft beer. It’s just for fun!
1. Tasting glasses
This is one of the most basic things you need when organizing a beer-tasting: Tasting glasses! You probably want the same glasses for everyone, but for me personally, a broke-ass student, that can’t be done. What I do: Use small wine glasses, beer-tasting glasses that you received on festivals and so on. Make sure they are small, preferably for beer, and that they more or less can hold the same amount of liquids, and you’re fine. Also, make sure people have water besides them to rinse their pallet.
The most important thing for me personally: Snacks! I recommend either putting a lot of snacks on the table, so people can choose (popcorn, crackers with spreads, cheese, chips, chocolates, nuts and stuff) or, if you want to go fancy, pair your beer with the food you serve. IPA’s pair well with spicy food (a good Indian curry, or simply wasabi-nuts if you’re a student like me) and stouts go great with chocolate mousse, but you can also just get a regular chocolate bar.
The next step is to gather fun info about the beer you’re serving! Write down a few pages with the style, the brewery and the ABV, but also some fun details about the brewery, where the beer comes from and what other (famous) beers they have. They will totally think you’re a pro.
Keep an order in mind. You can start with the beer that has the lowest ABV and work your way up, but you can also start with the lightest colour of beer (like a witbier, IPA, WIPA or NEIPA) and make your way to the darker beers. Of course, you can also just ignore my advice and drink the beers in whatever order you want, it’s totally up to you, I won’t judge.
If you do a low-key beer tasting for people you know, they won’t care if you forget the ABV or if you begin with a big BA-stout, so just make sure you (and everyone else) is having fun. I like doing an alcohol-free test with my friends: I give them a couple of pilsners to try, and they have to guess which brewery it’s from and which one is the AF one. You can also let them try some beers blindfolded or paired with different food, or do a quiz with beer-related facts.
Have you ever done a beer-tasting with friends? Let me know how it went, and what your tips are!