How to Drink Beer… Knowledgeably

I’ve mentioned BeerAdvocate before. I love to read from them, reference them, and- most often; most proudly- steal from them.

But tonight, I just want to share. In my search for beer topics worth writing about, I procrastinated my way into literature on tasting and reviewing beer.

It’s embarrassing how often I find myself and other beer-loving friends with difficulty in describing a beer:

Me: “Oooh, that’s my favorite!”
You: “Yeah, what’s it taste like?”
Me: “It’s really hoppy! I like hops!”
You: “Um… so what does that mean?”
Me: “It’s like… well, it’s kinda bitter? And it’s…”

And then I jump through the nearest window.

The point is that I drink beer often enough (and I’m sure you do, too) that we should be able to speak about it in an educated way. This means knowing proper protocol for tasting a beer, proper protocol for describing a beer (including that nonsensical A-S-T-M-O categorization), and the right vocabulary.

I’m making it my new month’s resolution and here’s where I’m starting:

–BeerAdvocate’s tips on reviewing a beer: Even if you aren’t a writer and never plan to rate or review a beer beyond “Yum!” or “This is crap”, it’s worth giving this a quick read, just so you know what you’re getting yourself into and have questions worth asking when ordering from a gargantuan beer menu (although I admit there are worse problems to have).

–BeerAdvocate’s tips on tasting a beer: This is an even quicker read and something you won’t do at a bar (PROMISE ME!) because you’ll look like a total douche, but if you’re at home, tasting a beer for the first time, why not taste it like a pro?

–BeerAdvocate’s list of beerstyles: This is the longest of these articles, but also the most navigable, as it’s a somewhat exhaustive list of the many styles of beer. I’m not planning on reading it start to finish even myself, but give it a whirl. Look up the styles you know; see if you know them as well as you think you do.


If you find you enjoy reading up on the above, check out some other articles in their beer education section. And remember this: I’m not imploring anyone to become a beer douche; simply a beer geek. Use your newfound knowledge to educate friends, but pipe down if they just want to have a f***in’ beer.

~Don Julian



One Comment on "How to Drink Beer… Knowledgeably"

  1. thomas April 4, 2012 at 9:29 am - Reply

    while i love good craft beer i try not to be snobby with my friends about it. after all, i’ve been known to tip back the glass boot a few times. great blog! i found this other interesting blog with a piece about new ways to drink beer from a Michigan microbrewery – Frankenmuth Brewery

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