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Tasting challenges to fill your cup this BrewFest

Tasting challenges to fill your cup this BrewFest

Take it slow, enjoy the aroma and stay open to new styles this weekend

When it comes to trying new beers at the Chucktown BrewFest this weekend, there’s an enormous amount of advice available, including impressively specific rules that might scare away the casual beer taster. First thing to keep in mind: you don’t have to take it too seriously.

That being said, beer devotees have developed a system to help them enjoy individual tastes and flavors that separates an American pale ale from an Irish dry stout. For the inner beer novices in all of us, here are three things to keep in mind when that sample platter seems just a touch overwhelming.

AGITATE

Devoted hobbyists at Beer-Advocate.com say that before you drink, describe the color of the beer. It doesn’t change the taste, but it’s always important to be mindful of your drink, especially during a night out. If – while it’s not quite as important for most brews, some experts swear swirling your drink gently in the glass lets out a few aromas and key nuances you might not otherwise have noticed. Giving your drink a chance to warm up a bit, instead of drinking it right out of the cooler or in frozen glasses, is also said to help flavors strengthen before a tasting.

SMELL

Smell dominates how we taste and beer enthusiasts take it seriously. Julia Herz of CraftBeer.com, of the Brewer’s Association, breaks down the experience of smell in two slots: orthonasal, or the chemical reaction after sniffing through your nose, and retronasal, which are the chemical reactions when the nose and mouth work together — tasting. Take a sniff of your drink to check out any floating aromas, then sip and resist immediately swallowing. Have fun with your adjectives when describing the flavor to companions.

OPEN UP TO NEW STYLES

Don’t judge a drink by it’s color — not all dark beers are as heavy as you think, writers at Craft Beer say. The color of a beer depends on varying heat levels during the malting process, which means that the ‘body’ — the consistency or thickness of the brew — may give a misleading appearance to how heavy the beer tastes.

If you’re sure dark beers “aren’t your thing”, the best thing to do is ask a brewery representative about the qualities of a brew. But isn’t this the right time to try new things anyway?

By Kate Hayden [email protected]

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