Proof logo

My Beer Tasting Journey

by Anna Harrison about a year ago in beer
Report Story

A Subscription for Debunking Taboos and Learning an Art

My Beer Tasting Journey
Photo by Jon Parry on Unsplash

P A S S I O N: "a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something [l.e for beer*] ..." Original definition found here.

I went on a journey once…. a journey that took me from unhappily drinking apple or pear cider, to eventually falling in love with a pint of Guinness. A journey that elevated my palate and taught me how to discover. A journey that matched drinks to environment, meals and times. What was this journey, you say? My beer tasting experience. This is something I am deeply passionate about, as I believe it is a beautiful experience to learn about one’s taste in beer despite various stereotypes attached to the beverage. I am a young woman who has loved beer for several years now. My father and I have regular catch-ups at pubs with our go-to orders: mine, beer; dad’s either whiskey or red wine. Without fail almost every single time the bartenders or waiters assume the beer is for dad and the wine or whiskey for me. I chuckle and often smile, waiting until they leave to do our ritual swapping of drinks, correcting their humble error. I guess it’s more abnormal for young women to prefer beer, but that doesn’t mean they or anyone don’t have the opportunity to want it and learn. I did a verbal survey at my college residence once, asking all the women if they'd prefer wine and cheese, or a beer social night. To my disappointment (for selfish reasons) the wines won. However, such events have never deterred me from loving to order my schooner of pale ale or a pint of Kilkenny’s. Rather all such events led me to my conviction that beer is, and always will be, my preferred alcoholic option. My journey began as I went home one summer, shortly after turning 18 to find lots of Corona (an unfortunate name now, for the Mexican beer brand). My family had some cases with lime and lemon wedges, and over that hot summer would socialise with these drinks. For me, this was my initial exposure to beerios (a word now affectionately known to coin this golden drink). As I went back to uni after summer, I branched out to a series of light hoppy beers, classic Australian brands like Great Northern, Carlton Dry, and the top-tier Toohey’s New. They were all so delicious and I was satisfied, until the year I moved to Perth with some friends who were way more beer inclined. They introduced me to an array of beer tastes, from dark ales to craft beer and even some berry sour ales. I mean we spent my 21st birthday at a local Brewery (still one of the best life choices I’ve ever made). These experiences for me only opened my eyes, to the art and craft of beer as more than a bogan vibe. My statement now is, beer is a delicacy. With proper knowledge and experience, one can acquire the skills to know what they like and when or how to enjoy it best. The scale is endless- whether it VB in a bottle or a milk stout on tap; these beverages are so rich and have so much to offer. One of life’s biggest taboos in the 21st century modern age is that beer is gross, too heavy and for old men, they don't seem to know that it can be for a broader range. So my proposal for an ideal utopian world is to set up a one on one client business for a customized discovery of each individual who is keen, to have their own beer journey of taste and appreciation. With guidance and a simple acronym, anyone who is keen can walk through these steps to understand how beer is like beautifully well-made bread in a cup (don’t worry there are even gluten-free options).

So let me be the sensei and you the wonderful pupil, as I pass on my love and practical steps to acquiring a taste for beer.

Here is the B E E R acronym.

B is for BEGINNERS

The beginning of your beer journey is crucial for future success. Much like when you begin training to run long distance, it’s about going at a slower pace and adjusting to where your body is at. TYPE> That is why the beginning of this journey should always be beers of a lighter or fruitier flavour. Nothing heavy or too eccentric. Start with the lagers, the pale ales and, hoppy branded beers. Corona’s, Blue Moon, James Squire, Balter's Captain Sensible, Toohey’s New or even mid-strength Great Northerns. These are some classic beer brands that aren’t too much to stomach. FORM> At the beginning I would always recommend ordering them on tap. Stay away from the bottles and especially cans until a proper conceptual appreciation for the essence of beer has been formed. Next, we have the HEAD> At this stage of the tasting make sure your beer head is good, with only a few fingers length of that wonderful foam. SIZE> Finally, make sure you begin with smaller tap sizes like the midi glass. Don’t overwhelm yourself and get bloated too soon.

E is for EVALUATE

This is the second stage in your beer journey. Time to evaluate. Are you enjoying a midi of Great Northern on tap? Are your fruity beers delicious and leaving you thirsty? Are you beginning to want more, or perhaps a different flavour? Are you no longer deterred by the bitterness that you once thought was a substantial reason for rejecting this drink altogether? Well if this is you, then you’re ready to deepen your palate. DISCLAIMER> However, I must point out that at this stage of the journey some people need not push what is not natural. If you’re content with the fruity light beers, there’s no need to progress, if you’ve found your unique groove, stay there and rest. I have plenty of friends and family who’ve been on this journey and settled at this step with complete fulfilment. If this is you, your membership can end here, with full conviction that it has held a deep worth and served its full purpose (also you can resume the sessions at any time if say 15 years down the track a spark for new beer suddenly emerges).

But if you are ready for more, let me welcome you to stage three.

PLUS> As a side note, have you suddenly realised that you are gluten intolerant but have simultaneously had a thirst for beer awoken? Well, a good friend of mine was in this same position, and so he discovered Hahn’s Super Crisp Gluten-Free beer. It’s brewed from rice and not wheat, allowing your tummy to be happy. This is just one of a few options for gluten-free beers which are exciting for everyone whose bodies hate bread. I’ll admit they don’t pack the same punch as a traditional wheat beer, but they're growing on me slowly as I endeavour to try more. Anyway, moving on.

E is for EVEN KEENER?

This brings us up to step three where you know you’re ready for more. SIZE> This should be upped to a schooner on tap. But now’s an appropriate time to have bottles or cans for convenience and travel (the lower tiers of beer presentation) without spoiling the integrity. Your tolerance and thirst have grown. CRAFT> Now would be a time to deepen your knowledge of craft beers. Various IPA (Indian Pale Ale) or other variations of ale beers are perfectly hoppy, bitter and yet sweet. Hazy beers, XPA's and more. They're a step up from the basic beer brands as the quality is thicker, the flavours more niche as you can mix them with unconventional side parts. My stand out highlight recommendation for such would be a Vanilla Milkshake IPA craft beer- I promise it's better than it sounds. This stage in the journey is the most unpredictable of all, as it has to be customised and catered to each individual, their country, their palate and the speed to which their imagination is growing. I must say this is possibly the most exciting stage. I can’t say much more as it’s totally unique. A time for innovation, discovery and personal development. A stage that is ongoing for all beer drinkers. Timeless. Colourful. Glorious.

R is for READY TO GO SIR

Finally, we can move to the final stage of the subscription. DARK> These sessions conclude with a solemn introduction to the history of dark ales and their Irish origins. The end goal for this membership is to conclude in an old pub, with a huge lounge, books and a fireplace for warmth. A final interview and hearty discussion shared over a Guinness or two. SIZE> This part of the journey will up the size to a pint. A full immersion into one flavour without the slightest of fright. A bold move into deep flavours, milk stouts, dark ales and classic Irish Guinness or O’Haras and beyond. To appreciate the rich deep and bitter flavours is an elitist point in the journey. A moment to pause and appreciate how far each individual client has travelled and grown. EXAM> Finally, these sessions end with a theory exam on pairing appropriate beverages to their ideal seasons. For example, and without giving every answer away: An ideal category for beer in each season may look like something as follows:

SUMMER: Perfect for those crisp, cold, lemon-infused light and fruity beers.

AUTUMN: Great for the sweeter craft beers such as an infused IPA with berry or vanilla flavours.

WINTER: Dark ales and stouts preferably served near a fire.

SPRING: The most diverse season for anything. New beginnings. An opportunity to try a different beer. Certainly a time for discovery and innovation. Maybe brew one of your own?

These are the four stages of the B E E R acronym in this program. My hopes are that anyone who desires to know all beer will be able to move past its stereotype and into an appreciation of the art form that it truly is.

I’m proud to know that I’m already on this journey with some friends and housemates, as I constantly look forward to growing in my own beer expertise along the way. Right now some friends of mine have moved from liking lager to jumping metres and miles to appreciating Guinness. Another friend who is not beer inclined tried a Kilkenny and was pleasantly surprised. It's all very wonderful to see how it progresses.

So consider, do you want to be a part of the annual Beer Tasting Journey subscription? Move past the myths and false narratives of old haggard imagery. Sign up today for these seasonal sessions, interviews and tastings. It'll enlighten your palate and give you new horizons. Now go, try some bread in a cup.

(*Personal opinion inserted into the definition for passion. But I mean, am I wrong?).

beer

About the author

Anna Harrison

I love how writing can communicate all sorts of ideas to all sorts of people, connecting and enlightening the world. I studied Liberal Arts and love history, philosophy, and concepts. I'm also a self-proclaimed drama nerd and coffee snob.

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights

Comments

There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

Sign in to comment

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2022 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.