Beer is an acquired taste, and if your taste buds have not yet acquired a liking for beer, you may be struggling through nights at bars with friends, cookouts, or baseball games. Some environments just call for a beer, but if you don’t like the taste, it can be hard to enjoy those moments. However, there are ways you can learn to appreciate beer and even like the taste instead of grimacing every time you take a sip.
Here are some ways to learn how to enjoy beer:
- Educate yourself on the different types of beer.
- Try beers from other countries.
- Take the time to truly taste the beer.
- Drink beer at the right temperature.
- Use the right glass.
- Pair your beer with food.
With the right approach, anyone can start to enjoy the beer-drinking experience. The rest of this article details how you can go from a beer hater to a beer lover, so you don’t have to shudder through any more pints.
1. Educate Yourself on the Different Types of Beer
You may have tried a few different kinds of beer, didn’t like any of them, and then declared yourself a beer-hater prematurely. However, there are so many kinds of beer, each with a different taste, that it’s almost impossible to hate all of them. Here’s a guide to the different kinds of beer and their flavor profiles:
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- Pale ales – feature hops, which makes these beers have more bitter flavors. Common beers in this category include India Pale Ale (IPA) and Imperial IPAs. English pales are more balanced in flavor, whereas the American versions focus more on the flavor of the hops, which gives them a more citrusy or dank taste.
- Amber ales – include caramel, toffee, nut, or fig flavors. English styles are sweeter, whereas American versions are more bitter. You can learn more about amber ales here.
- Browns and porters – often have coffee and chocolate flavors.
- Stouts – increase the roast flavors in porters. Dry Irish stouts are bitter, whereas sweet or milk stouts are more chocolatey and sweet. A dark beer tends to have a higher alcohol content.
- Wheat beers – have a variety of flavors. European styles typically focus on fruity and spicy flavors, whereas American versions focus on bread aromas and wheat taste.
- Lagers – typically have a nuanced flavor profile and can range from floral to malt taste tones.
- Sour beers – can be light and tart or funky. These are good beers to try if you don’t like the beer taste of typical “beer,” as their flavors vary widely.
There’s no way of knowing what kind of beer you like the best without trying them, so make sure you sample a variety of types so you can determine which kind of beer you like best.
2. Try Beers From Other Countries
Beers from different places in the world use unique ingredients and brewing techniques that can make flavors different from anything you’ve tried before. Popular foreign beers include Guinness from Ireland, Corona from Mexico, Stella Artois from Belgium, and Heineken from the Netherlands.
You may find that, while you don’t like domestic beer, you love foreign beer!
3. Take the Time To Truly Taste the Beer
There’s no denying that the craft beer movement has changed the beer-drinking game, and it may be that you simply don’t know how to appreciate the complex flavors of some beers. Here are the steps on how you can make sure that you’re tasting the beer instead of just choking it down:
- Inhale the aroma. Smell is a big part of taste, and if you’re skipping out on that part of the experience, you may be missing out on parts of the flavor as well.
- Swirl it. This will release more aromas and allow you to smell the beer even more.
- Take a small first sip. Take in just enough to let it hit all parts of your mouth. After swallowing, exhale through your nose and take note of the initial flavors and the aftertaste.
- Take a bigger sip and send it directly to the back of the throat. This will help you identify the broad flavors.
Being able to properly identify the flavors present in your beer may help you like the taste. It just takes a little extra time.
4. Drink Beer at the Right Temperature
Even beer lovers will admit that warm beer isn’t ideal. However, cold beer can even be served too cold, as if the liquid freezes, it can spoil the flavor.
The proper temperature to drink beer is in the 38-55° F range. In general, lighter beers should be served chilled, whereas darker beers are best enjoyed at room temperature.
5. Use the Right Beer Glass
Different glassware shapes can impact your experience of the flavor. Make sure you’re using the best glass for your beer, and therefore giving yourself the best shot at enjoying it. Here’s a brief guide:
- Pint glasses – are best for lagers, ales, IPAs, stouts, and porters. They’re the simplest style of glassware to manufacture and stack and are common in bars.
- Beer mugs – have thick walls and a handle to keep your beer cool, ideal for lagers, Scottish ales, and Irish stouts.
- Goblets and chalices – are great for heavy and malty beers, as the wide opening assists the beer drinker in getting the full aroma.
- Pilsner glasses – are ideal for, well, pilsners. The skinny design helps the drinker enjoy the carbonation in these types of beers.
- Tulip glasses – have a bulbous body and lip that promote the flavor of malty and hoppy beers.
6. Pair Your Beer With Food
The flavors of some foods pair well with the flavors of some beers, so if you find a winning combination, you’ll have a greater chance of enjoying the taste of your beer. Here’s what food to try with different types of beer:
- Light lagers – light beer pairs well with spicy food and salt. The refreshing flavor of a light lager works well with spicy foods, such as buffalo wings, and salty foods, like french fries.
- Wheat beers – work with spicy food and fruity desserts. Wheat beers are versatile, so they work with a variety of foods. Next time you’re sipping on a wheat beer, try nibbling on a pastry or fruit tart with it. Or, if you’re hungry, order some spicy noodles.
- IPAs – are complemented by steak and Mexican food. The bitter flavor of an IPA is best with a nice steak, a burrito, or fajitas.
- Amber ales – go with pizza and barbeque. Amber ales’ dry and crisp flavor is a great palate cleanser, so enjoy it with a pizza, brisket, or pulled pork sandwich.
- Dark lagers – can be paired with hearty foods, like stews and burgers. Dark lagers are common in Europe, so pairing this beer with any European dish, like goulash, is a good bet.
- Brown ales – work with seafood. The nutty and chocolatey flavors in brown ales pair well with seafood, including sushi.
- Porters – go with game meat. Porters’ rich and deep flavor calls for a deep, flavorful food, so try it with game meats like rabbit or venison.
- Stouts – are best enjoyed with desserts and shellfish. The chocolatey flavor of stouts is the perfect pairing for desserts like mousse or shellfish like lobster.
Find out even more about how to like beer in the video below:
Don’t give up on drinking beer yet! If you’ve been grimacing through all your beers up to this point, take the time to truly taste your beer, try different beer types, drink using the right glassware and the ideal temperature, and experiment with food pairings. The perfect-tasting beer for you may be out there; you’ve just got to find it!