Photograph: Beer by Nitr – Fotolia © adobe.stock.com
Beer tasting isn’t bogged down by the seriousness of wine tasting. Sure, there’s lots to learn, but it’s fun. Here’s a collection of my favorites along with some from ANDREW FIORINI, general manager at Cask Republic in Stamford and Norwalk, and RYAN SLAVIN, managing partner at Local Kitchen and Beer Bar in Fairfield.
It opens with the gentle sigh of a bottle of sparkling wine. This classic, crisp, complex, balanced brew reveals the beauty of Belgian Farmhouse beer.
Monk’s Café Flemish Sour Ale
Right now, I’m into sours. This Flanders Red Ale has a tart cherry flavor, soft effervescence and a pleasing crisp tannic finish. It’s made from fresh and aged-in-oak beer.
Hazy and alive, and tart with complex flavors and hints of spice (brewed with coriander and salt), this is an excellent bottle-conditioned beer from Germany.
This is a light, citrus-forward, spring saison.
New Belgium Citradelic
A juicy, citrus IPA, with a lot of hoppy bitterness cut by tangerine sweetness
Lawson’s Super Session
A light, crisp, low ABV, with the smaller-scale hoppy bitterness of an IPA
Dogfish Head Festina Peche
A light, mildly tart Berliner weisse brewed with peaches to balance sweet and sour.
This is a sought-after beer. It’s a rich, bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout.
An amber with a citrus-fruit, peppery, dry finish. It is brewed from malted rye, barley and oats.
A pale Belgian-style wheat beer that is spiced with coriander and orange peel.
Uinta Ready Set Gose
It’s organic, delicate and light, with mild lemon tartness and low ABV.
HOW TO TASTE BEER: Look at the color, clarity and foam. Smell it; note the aromas.
Taste it: Roll it around in your mouth, note the flavors, weight, body, effervescence. Enjoy. Repeat.
- ABV Alcohol by volume
- BERLINER WEISSE a Champagne of beers—light, mild, fruity, tart
- IMPERIAL STOUT Rich and full-bodied, with coffee and chocolate flavors and high ABV
- IPA (India Pale Ale) A hoppy, high-alcohol brew that has evolved since its origin in 1600s England.
- SAISON A hazy, fine bubbled, well-balanced beer with complex hints of fruit and bitterness and a dry finish. It is brewed in cool weather in Belgian farmhouses using available grains, hops and spices.
- SOUR Fresh beer blended with aged beer to created a tart flavor
- STOUT Traditionally English and brewed in warm weather. Use of roasted grains gives it its dark color and coffee and chocolate richness, which replaces the bitterness of hops. Light ABV
- WEISS (a.k.a. weissbier, hefeweizen, white beer) A pale, unfiltered ancient German wheat beer, with a bite of clove and coriander spice.
Elizabeth Keyser has written about beer, wine and spirits for newspapers, magazines and blogs. She has sat on the Yankee Brew News tasting panel and judged craft and European brew contests.