You can now also book virtual beer tastings!
Beer tastings are particularly popular in Belgium: Belgian beer has been very popular for decades. The breweries always do their best to give the beer as much smell and taste as possible. Especially the small craft brewers try to distinguish themselves with special beers that contain great aromas. In Belgium, beer is mostly still brewed by hand with a lot of love and attention. Then of course it is especially nice as a drinker to try the beers with love and attention!
Since we now also offer virtual beer tastings for groups, we would like to share some information with you.
Beautiful and matching beer glasses for your beer tasting
A nice beer tasting and enjoyment begins with a fresh, clean glass. Each type of beer has its own “favorite glass”. A “Munich glass”, for example, is designed in such a way that aromas linger longer in the glass. Here the “belly” is wider than the drinking opening. In addition, the glass ensures that the beer is well distributed over the tongue when you take a sip. You can also decide with this glass whether you want to hold it by the stem so that the beer does not heat up with your hands. Or you just take it in your hand on your stomach so that the beer gets a little bit of temperature and perhaps “opens” better. Regardless of which glass you use, it is always important that the glass is free of grease and spotlessly clean.
A clean glass ensures that the foam head remains stable on your beer for as long as possible, so that the aromas stay in the beer. The crown in turn reduces the contact with oxygen so that the beer retains the quality that the brewer had in mind.
What are the main flavors in beer?
For the tasting it is interesting to know that we taste five different basic aromas with our tongue. Sweet, sour, salty and bitter are the best known, umami is the fifth (relatively unknown) taste. The German beer style Gose is slightly salty and sour. Salty and sour are currently among the trendiest beer flavors. In addition to the actual tasting, smelling creates the most important sensory impression, because it is assumed that more than 75 percent of what we taste is mainly due to what we smell. When it comes to beer tasting, swallowing the beer is also of central importance. The reason for this is very simple: if you don’t swallow, you miss the typical taste experience of the bitterness in beer. This is because the bitter taste receptors are mainly located in the throat (between the nose and throat). If you spit out the beer, these receptors would not be reached and the beautiful bitter nuances would be missed.
What’s the optimal beer temperature?
Now that we know all about these tasting parameters, we’re going to turn to the beer and the bottle itself. Hearing the bottle do pssshhh at the opening indicates the freshness of your beer.
Now it is still important to drink the beer at the right temperature. Beer is often drunk cold and in many cases it is too fresh and you miss an important part of the flavors. So what is the right beer temperature? A good guideline is the alcohol content in the beer. A beer of 8% (alcohol by volume) should not be drunk below 8 ° C. The drinking temperature can also be increased a little. If a beer is served too cold, it will remain ‘closed’. The moment the beer warms up, it opens and the aromas can develop better. It is scientifically proven that every time the temperature of your beer drops 1 ° C from 8 ° C, there is a 10% loss of flavor. At 4 ° C there isn’t much more to taste …
The look at the beer tasting
The simple form of beer tasting includes an accessible and explained tasting experience that every drinker experiences consciously or sometimes even superficially. After all, not everyone is a beer connoisseur.
First of all there is the visual aspect: you drink beer with your eyes first, don’t you? The eye judges what fun we can visually experience with beer. What we see stimulates our brain. What color is the beer and what does it look like when it is poured into the (correct and clean) glass? Is the beer clear, are there no pollutants in it? How is the head and the beer foam? Compact, creamy, robust or disappeared quickly? Is the beer clear, or rather unclear and foggy because of yeast or protein, which can swim in the beer? These are all questions that we answer visually and that reinforce our desire for beer.
Once the beer is poured we can really begin our tasting adventure. Step one is to watch the beer. What do you see? Describe the color as precisely as possible. How is the head Does the foam have a uniform structure? Are the bells fine or coarse? Does the head remain upright for a long time or does it disappear like snow from the sun?
The smell of the beer
Second, there is smell, which distinguishes the aromas that are supposed to indicate the taste. There are more than four hundred odor receptors in the nose, which together smell much more than the five basic aromas sweet, salty, umami, sour and bitter. How does the beer smell, what is the aroma? Fresh, stale, fruity, sweet, sour, bitter, in short: what do I smell? Danger! Don’t hide your nose in the foam!
It’s okay to swirl the glass, just like you would with wine. This releases the flavors. Again, it is important to describe what you smell as precisely as possible. Citrus? Okay, but is it grapefruit, orange, lemon, or lime? Do you smell sweetness, caramel, or is it coffee or chocolate? The more you smell consciously and try to describe it, the easier it is to achieve aromas and the better it is possible.
The taste of the beer
After all, beer lovers are of course concerned with the most important test component, the taste: What do I taste, what is the mouth feel, what is the aftertaste? A tip: You always swallow beer because of the bitterness (which is mainly caused by the hops it contains) – in contrast to wine. The hops create the aftertaste in the mouth and throat. This can sometimes miraculously linger for a long time.
Take a small sip, let it go by your mouth, then swallow down. Then take a larger sip and hold it in your mouth for a while. A second or two, three are enough. Then you swallow the beer. Now open your mouth a little and let the aromas influence you. Do you taste the same as what you smelled? Is it sweet caramel or sour apple? How’s the bitterness What’s the aftertaste? Does the taste last a long time or does it go away quickly? Is the bitterness slowly becoming more dominant or does this fresh fruitiness stay on the tongue?
Can you hear the beer too?
If you not only feel the exploding of the carbon dioxide bubbles on your tongue, but also hear them, the experimental experience increases again! After all, this crackling gives the impression that what you are drinking is very fresh. However, the bubbles of carbon dioxide do more than just crackle and excite the drinker. The interaction between the bubbles and the taste buds on the tongue becomes clear through this. You can see that the bubbles also have their own taste. The taste receptors on your tongue recognize a slight acidity when the bubbles burst. This is interpreted as fresh and cool in our brain. We taste even better when music or a certain soundscape plays in the background.
Feel the beer during a beer tasting
Finally, the most surprising of the sensory beer experiences that can be perceived with the senses. Holding the beer glass and tapping it lightly with your lips can easily change the taste of the beer. But one would have to be an experimental specialist to be able to make this distinction.