For the past few years, I’ve been on what I like to call a beer adventure, meaning I’m trying as many different beers as I can. As I try different styles and breweries, I’m always amazed that four ingredients—water, yeast, malt, and hops—can produce such a wide variety of flavors.
Anyway, the more beer I’ve tasted, the more I’ve realized that there are degrees of appreciation. Sure, you can gulp down a beer mindlessly, completely ignoring the careful craftsmanship that went into its production. But chances are you won’t enjoy it nearly as much as someone who patiently takes the time to examine the many facets of its character. It’s only recently that I’ve started to take the latter approach, slowing down and seeking to appreciate the complexity of the many excellent beers out there.
Today, I’d like to share five tips that can help you enjoy and appreciate beer more fully.
1. Smell – Tasting anything always starts with the nose, and if you’ve ever tried to enjoy good food when you’re congested, you’ll know that being unable to smell can make even the most delicious food bland.
When it comes to beer tasting, smelling the aroma of the beer is the first step. The word nose is used to describe both the aroma of the beer as well as the process of smelling it. If you wanted to be ironic, you could probably get away with saying, “I nosed the nose of the lager.”
It is important to realize that, unlike other alcoholic beverages, beer has a very fleeting smell. Nose the beer immediately after pouring, before the aroma has a chance to evaporate. Agitating the beer will also release the aroma more fully.
As you nose the beer, look for familiar scents. Some beers may smell like bananas, others like pine needles, citrus, pepper, etc. Discovering these scents will help you further

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