"A glass of beer comes naturally to the mind when cheese is being
discussed..." Ambrose Heath
Storage: Keep beer chilled and protected from UV light (especially
important for unpasteurized and unfiltered beers). Lager beers are
usually served colder than the top-fermented, yeasty ales and stouts
which fully develop their aromas at room temperature.
Lager and light beers 40-45 F
Weiss beers 46-48 F
Dark lager beers 48-50 F
Ales and stouts 50-55 F
Belgian-style ales 56-60 F
When opening chilled bottled beer, keep a towel ready to wipe
up any foam upon uncorking or uncapping the bottle. (Yes, several
styles of beer are often corked, then capped!) Pour the beer into
a slightly tilted glass with enough force to allow the beer to develop
a head of foam. The foam will release the perfume of the beer as it
dissolves. (Caution: foam that gushes endlessly is a sign of spoilt
NOTE: Expand your specialty beer glassware program beyond mugs or
steins. Glassware designed specifically for certain styles, such as
a classic pub glass for pale ale, a flared pilsner glass for a light
lager, or a thistle goblet for Scottish ale, helps convey color and
aroma. Clean glassware properly, and do not put glasses in the freezer
since melting frost dilutes the beer. Be sure to serve still or sparkling
water at a tasting to help cleanse the palate.
Tasting Tips for Beer (based on advice from Charles Finkel
and Michael Jackson)
Appearance: Hold the beer up to the light. Look at color, clarity,
carbonation, and the "head" or foamy collar at the top of
the glass. Bits of foam that cling to the sides of the glass as it
is emptied are known as "Belgian lace." Any haze may be
due to yeast sediments, or a protein haze from the malt.
Bouquet: What is the "nose" of the beer? Bready, caramel
or toasty aromas from malt? Citric or flowery fragrance from hops?
Peppery or yeasty aromas? Beer that is served too cold may lack aroma.
Flavor: When first sipping the beer, let it slide over your palate
a little slowly, and inhale just a bit. Look for characteristics such
as dryness, nutty or caramel taste, sweetness, etc.
Body: Is it creamy? Heavily carbonated and spritzy? Smooth and heavy?
Try to identify the mouthfeel. Many people find the slight carbonation
in beer counters the creaminess in cheese for a sparkling "mouthfeel."
Carbonation and flavor are affected by age. Most beer must be fresh-less
than three months old-to taste best, while aging often accentuates
and enhances the flavor of cheese.
Aftertaste: Beer often has an aftertaste: a clean and fresh tang of
hops, or an espresso-like or toffee taste, a full-grain bready flavor,
or pleasantly bitter. Beer that smells musty or tastes like cardboard
is stale beer.
Drinkability: The true test of tasting a beer is whether you would
enjoy more than just a sip!
BODY: full-bodied, medium-bodied, balanced, strong, flat, thin, soft,
sparkling, smooth, complex, silky, crisp, intense
flowery, fruity, caramel, molasses, coffee, coppery, nutty, bitter,
citric or lemony, dry, spicy, hoppy (varietal such as Cascade), bready
dry, astringent, grainy, creamy, lively, bubbly, gassy, thick, syrupy
COLORS: gold, amber, straw, copper or however you would describe
CLARITY: opaque, bright, cloudy, even carbonation
to taste and evaluate cheese
about Wisconsin cheese
introduction to beer and