How to Become a Better Beer Drinker

Hat tip to John Verive at the LA Times for his article on How to Become a Better Beer Drinker.  He has excellent suggestions on how to learn more and track your knowledge about beer.  Here are his suggestions and some of my own comments, but I definitely recommend you check out his original article.

1. Take Notes: As I mentioned in an earlier post, we like to use the Beer Judge Certification scoring system as a guideline for taking notes about beers.  The basic scoring elements are below, though the official scoring sheet deals with many more flavor/aroma components.

Aroma (as appropriate for style) _________/12
Comment on malt, hops, esters, and other aromatics

Appearance (as appropriate for style) _________/ 3
Comment on color, clarity, and head (retention, color, and texture)

Flavor (as appropriate for style) _________/20
Comment on malt, hops, fermentation characteristics, balance, finish/aftertaste, and other flavor characteristics

Mouthfeel (as appropriate for style) _________/ 5
Comment on body, carbonation, warmth, creaminess, astringency, and other palate sensations

Overall Impression _________/10
Comment on overall drinking pleasure associated with entry, give suggestions for improvement

Total _________/50

2. Book Learning: I’ve met the author of one of the books the LA Times writer recommends: Josh Bernstein’s Complete Beer Course.  (LA Times needs to fix his name, though.)  Josh is a Cleveland native and we ran into him one day while he was signing copies of his previous book, Brewed Awakening , at Nano Brew in Cleveland.  I haven’t read his new book yet, but was eying a copy at Founder’s Brewery the other days, so I may have to get it.

Josh Bernstein’s first book


3. Take a Class: We joined the Scioto Olentangy Darby Zymurgists (SODZ) club, which has regular meetings with workshops and competitions.

4. Discover New Styles: The LA Times writer likes Belgians.  I might try to focus more on local or smaller breweries in the area.  There have been a ton opening up these past few months.

5. Learn to Brew: Check.  We’re going to work on trying to brew once a month and developing more consistency in our production methods.  We brewed twice in December – a smoked porter and an American pale ale.

6. Cross Train: Drink other things – Check. We need to throw more parties to spread the wealth on the booze we’ve accumulated over the years.

7. Get Certified: I’ve been thinking about the Cicerone Certification just for fun.  The first level’s mostly about how to serve beer appropriately, which may just end up in my buying a bunch of extra glasses we’ll rarely use so that each beer can be served with its matching glass.


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