Anyone can drink a beer and enjoy it. It takes a special person to do it at a high-level. High-level you say? Yes. A black belt level. I might not be able to drink 20 beers or know the difference between every hops variety and yeast strain, but I can enjoy it just as much as any Master Cicerone and so can you. Here’s how.
Step 1: Go to store and pick up beer.
Pick one you know you like or one you haven’t tried. Don’t grab the front 6-pack if possible. Get one from the back – it is better protected from light.
Step 2: Store the beer.
If you’re not drinking it immediately put it somewhere out of direct light and that has a stable temperature like a pantry or cabinet not a garage or out on the kitchen counter.
Step 3: Chill the beer.
Put the beer in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours. If it should be served at a warmer temperature, i.e. Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout, chill for less time or let the bottle warm back up on the counter to its proper serving temperature. I let most of my beer rest outside of the fridge for a few minutes so I’m drinking around 45-50 degrees instead of 35-40 degrees which you’ll get when you pull them right out. Do some research. Here’s a serving temperature guide from RateBeer.
Step 4: Find a friend.
This step is optional but my favorite. Beer is meant to be shared. It’s in our blood. Humans have gathering around the fire to share drinks, talk and have fun for thousands of years. Fire is optional as well.
Step 5: Select a glass.
Find the proper glass for your beer. You can use your standard false pint glass if you want but please, pour it into a glass unless otherwise noted, e.g. Heady Topper. It’s hard to appreciate something you can’t see and last I tried it’s pretty difficult to see my beer behind a giant label and brown glass. It’s easier to smell a beer from a glass rather than a bottle or can too.
Step 6: Rinse glass under cold water.
Make sure your glass is beer clean then give it a quick rinse under cold water. Dry the outside of the glass with a clean towel. There’s no dire need dry the inside. Beer is 90%+ water anyway. Give it a couple aggressive shakes into the sink to rid the excess water. Just don’t smash your glass on the countertop. I haven’t done that yet but one day I’m sure I will. Check out page 4 of the Cicerone Certified Beer Server Exam Syllabus for more information on beer clean glassware.
Hey, have you checked out my study guides for the Cicerone Certified Beer Server Exam?
Step 7: Open bottle with your favorite opener.
You must use your favorite opener. This is important. It’s good for morale. I bet there’s a story behind why it’s your favorite too.
Step 8: Pour beer properly.
Tilt the glass at a 45-degree angle and pour bottle into glass. Do not touch the bottle to the glass! Don’t be lazy. When the bottle is half empty tilt the glass upright and continue pouring down the center until empty. Pour aggressively. Head is a good thing for most beers. When you’re pouring beers with yeast still in the bottle like a Hefeweizen (one that isn’t Blue Moon) pay attention not to pour yeast sitting at the bottom of the bottle into your glass. You won’t die if you do but it’s probably better not to drink it.
Step 9: Admire.
Look into your glass. Look under your glass. Can you see through the glass? Take in the light reflecting off liquid. Take in all the colors, the bubbles, your surroundings.
Step 10: Breathe.
Breathe in your beer. Put your nose right up to it – it’s okay to get some foam on it even in public. Especially in public. What scents you can pick up? Imagine you have no idea that it’s beer and it could be anything. What do you smell?
Step 11: Taste.
This is the best part. Tilt the glass back and take a gulp. Don’t be a wuss, no tiny sips. Drink more than just the head of the beer. Let it linger for a few seconds. See what tastes you can pick up. Is it piney? Is it earthy? Chocolaty? Close your eyes if it helps. Use your nose – it helps your sense of taste. How does it feel? Light? Heavy? Prickly?
Step 12: Think.
Think about everything that went into that swig. Think about all the people who made that beer. Think about the people who helped those people. Those friends and family members that supported them in there lofty pursuits. For beer that they made. Think about what you’re doing right now. Who you are with. That there’s a roof over your head or a roof to go home to. If you don’t have a roof you shouldn’t be drinking. You earned that beer. Enjoy it.
Step 13: Repeat steps 9 through 12 until glass is empty.
You don’t have to look and smell the beer between each mouthful but casually take in how the beer changes over time.
Step 14: Grab another beer.
Step 15: Share the joy.
If you enjoyed your beer share it somehow. Give it a good rating on Untappd. Email the brewery thanking them. Buy more of it (just don’t be a beer hoarder!). Tell a friend about it. Remember, beer is meant to be shared.
Step 16: Share this post with someone who deserves a beer.
If there’s someone you think deserves a beer, send him or her this post. Better yet share this post, bring them a beer and help enjoy it together.
What steps do you take to enjoy your beer? Leave them below!
This step goes perfectly with your first Beer Mission…details coming soon…
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