A big goal for our new blog is doing a weekly beer review. We want to expose you to the wonderful world of beer. Recently, June had several friends tell her they don’t like beer. As she’s explored that, it usually means macro-brews, but others said things like beer is too bitter. Oh, there’s so much more than macro and bitter beers out there and we’re going to tell you about them! We want to guide you to all the wildly different types of beers, from malty, toasty, fruity, tart, sweet, dark, creamy and everything in between. There are beers for everyone’s palate and we’ll help you discover them.
We’re not trained beer tasters, but we’re going to use the Beer Judge Certification Program tasting guidelines. Our goal is to provide consistent and fair reviews and the BJCP provides a good framework for that. The BJCP criteria are:
- Aroma – So much of flavor is actually what you smell. Take a few sniffs. What is your nose telling you about the beer? What smells and flavors are you picking up?
- Appearance – This is the color, clarity and head on the beer. Take a good look at your beer. What are you seeing?
- Flavor – Is your beer hoppy or malty, sweet or tart? What about the aftertaste? Do the flavors bring back a memory? What are you tasting?
- Mouthfeel – We know, it’s a weird word. All it means is how the beer feels in your mouth. Every style has a different texture and carbonation plays a role. Is it thin, dry, creamy, smooth or thick?
- Overall Impression – This is subjective, and really, it’s all the the other parts put together. What do you think about the beer? Does the beer conform to its style, or is it trying to push the boundaries? Would you drink it again or recommend it?
June says… There are a lot of rules for beer tasting, but as an “Average Jane” nonprofessional, my criteria are pretty simple – Does it taste good to me? Can I see myself relaxing somewhere (couch, porch, bier garten) and enjoying this beer? I’ve been to beer festivals where there is one particular beer that everyone’s talking about because of its uniqueness. I’ve tried beers that have been infused with chili peppers, beers aged in whiskey barrels, sour beers, sweet beers, and in one instance, beer made with Mountain Dew syrup. Some of these beers I loved, some… not so much. But that doesn’t make them bad beers. They just weren’t the right beers for me.
At the 2012 Beer Bloggers Conference, Garrett Oliver, the brewmaster of Brooklyn Brewery, commented on this topic. Basically, he said beer is art. My favorite quote was, “Everyone who stands in front of a kettle is trying to make magic. It’s tricky.” Art is in the eye of the beholder… or on the lips of the taster. As Seth Godin says, art is about taking risks. Anyone can be a critic but it takes courage to be an artist, or a brewer. Our reviews will tell you what we taste in the beer, not to presume if you’ll like it or not. And more than likely, we’ll probably disagree on whether we like it because we have very different taste in beer. Regardless, even if we don’t prefer a beer, we won’t tell you it’s bad, we’ll encourage you to try it for yourself. Not every beer is for everyone, and that’s OK.