We all have that friend. You know the one I’m talking about. He—or she – is the one that always brings a 12-pack of generic beer to the party. They say it tastes fine to them and then trot out that line no true beer lover would ever say.
You know the one: “After three or four, it doesn’t matter what it tastes like anyway.”
As you Kraken into a Cold One, maybe a Makes Waves Amber Ale, resist the urge to call your friend names or slap him silly. Instead, Take A Chill and lend your friend a helping hand. Resist the urge to make fun of him using Low Brow humor and introduce him to The New Age… Of Beer.
Refine his palate. Don’t let him be The Odd Can Out anymore.
Your ‘friend’ will first have to understand that you don’t drink good beer because you “just want to get drunk.” You drink good beer to enjoy it. Yes, intoxication is possible (but only done responsibly), but it is not the end goal.
Okay. So, how do you enjoy a good beer? Easy, my friends.
Don’t chug it. It should be a crime to chug craft beer. When you do that, you don’t have the opportunity to appreciate what makes it so unique.
You don’t get a chance to breathe in the aroma. You can’t enjoy the citrus aroma of a Yoga Poser if you finish the can in five seconds. Swirling your beer will help release more of the scent.
You can’t taste your beer, either. An Agricultured Rye Porter can’t be appreciated in the time it takes to chug. The good thing about developing your taste buds is this—you need to drink many beers. But not the same ones-- different beers.
Then there’s texture. When you chug, the last thing your thinking about is how a beer feels when you drink it. But every craft beer (and even the domestics) has a distinct texture to it. Probably the best way to describe how different they can is to drink a Gluten Full Blonde Ale and then a Trend Bucker Stout.
Slow down enough to appreciate how a beer smells, tastes, and feels as you drink it and you will be on your way to developing a more refined palate.
However, after a while, you may hit a plateau. You may find that you struggle to see the difference in the fruity scent of a Brew In Town Belgian Wit and the fruity aroma of a Make Waves Amber Ale.
Beer aficionados can, of course, but your new—that’s okay.
Try these two exercises. First, do a good ‘ole fashioned taste test. Have a friend pour a flight of beers and not tell you what they are. Take your time drinking them and try to recognize what is different about each one.
Once you start to get kind of good at it, take the blind taste test up a notch by doing a triangle test. You’ll need three pint-glasses and two different but similar types of beer. Pour two pints of one beer and just one of the other. The goal here is to be able to identify which beer is the odd can out.
There are other exercises you can do that will help further refine your palate. But there is no sense in trying to run before you can walk. You don’t want to attempt to 'cross-train' or get into the psychological aspects of refining our palate before you learn that you have one.
Craft beer is For Cultivated Tastes, so start refining your palate and crack open a No Coast beer today