Warm the beer glass in your hands. If you’re drinking beer from the bottle, warm it up a little bit with your hands. Closer to “cellar temperature” is the ideal temp for beer, about 45 to 50 degrees F. There’s a misconception that people in England drink beer warm, at room temperature — not true. They usually drink it at ale temperature, which is a little closer to cellar temp.
If you’re pouring the beer into the glass, warm up the glass from the outside. Just hold your hands around the glass, warm it up a bit. Your body can’t process the full flavors of cold things. That’s one big reason cheap beer is served ice cold: You can’t taste how horrible it is.
Pour down the center of the glass, about 3 quarters of the way. Let the head and beer rest, and let the Carbon Dioxide lift out, because CO2 will cloud the flavor too. Once the head goes down, pour in a little more. When you get down to the last swig in the bottle, swirl it around before you pour it into the glass to get that last bit of yeast settled at the bottom of the bottle.
Smell the beer. Taste it, roll it around your tongue and swallow, get the general impression of the beer. Don’t just don’t think in terms of bitter. Bitter might be the most recognizable quality but there are citrus notes and hops gives it a floral, vegetal flavor.
Pause. Then take a bite of your food. Then take a sip of your beer and notice the difference because one changes the other.
Take notes. Keep a piece of paper and pen handy and take notes of the flavor. The right food with the right beer should be a “2 + 2 = 5 experience.”
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Posted January 2012