A guided tasting

On July 23rd, we discussed how to taste beer and I lead a guided tasting of three styles: Munich Helles, Belgian Witbier, and Saison.

Unfortunately, there’s no recording of this session as… I forgot to hit record! (Despite telling everyone I had. Yes, I felt like a total dingbat.)

I will be running a similar session again in the future and promise to press record next time for those of you keen to listen back! Apologies again!

First, we’ll go through the 4-step process of tasting beer “like a pro”, then we’ll focus in on these 3 styles, talking and tasting our way through their expected appearance, aroma, taste and texture.

When teaching myself how to identify the expected aromas and flavours in different beer styles, I’d always follow this approach in my studies:

  • Taste the beer while comparing it to the BJCP style guidelines, so I knew what aromas/flavours I was looking for, then see if I could find them in the beer
  • But also have examples of those expected aromas/flavours to hand (like specific foods, fruits or spices), so I was confident I was identifying the actual aromas and not just what I thought those aromas smelled like

This week, start by watching the recommended video (if you were here for our previous ‘Guided Tasting’ session on May 28th, it’s the same one) and reading through the style guidelines for each of the 3 styles we’ll cover.

Then, if you can, get your hands on the beers and food ingredients recommended below and have them to hand during the session so we can go through each tasting together.

(And if you can’t get your hands on these exact beers – or styles – bring any beer you’ve got, as the 4-step beer tasting process we’ll cover can be applied to any beer!)

Video: How to taste beer like a pro

This video (of mine, cringe) briefly explains the 4 steps of the beer tasting process: how we assess what our beer looks, smells, tastes and feels like.

That’s enough to get us started, but if you’d like to learn more, you can check out the rest of the playlist for a deep dive video into each step:

Style Guidelines

Munich Helles: https://dev.bjcp.org/style/2015/4/4A/munich-helles/

Belgian Witbier: https://dev.bjcp.org/style/2015/24/24A/witbier/

Saison: https://dev.bjcp.org/style/2015/25/25B/saison/

Beers & foods to have to hand

As you’ll learn from the video, aroma signals are processed by the emotion and memory centres of our brain, not the higher thinking centres responsible for vocabulary. So the goal here is to use everyday foods/ingredients to help us make some new aroma memories, that will then make it easier for us to identify these aromas in a beer.

Munich Helles

Beers: Augustiner Lagerbier Hell, Hacker-Pschorr Münchner Gold, Paulaner Premium Lager, Spaten Premium Lager

Foods: Water biscuits (like these) and/or white bread

Belgian Witbier

Beers: Hoegaarden, Blanche de Bruxelles, St. Bernardus Witbier

Foods: An orange, coriander seeds


Beers: Saison Dupont (The saison style can be widely interpreted, so if we can all attempt to taste the same saison, that will make things easier. But, if you can’t find it, that’s ok!)

Foods: A lemon, black pepper, brown/wholemeal bread

See you on Thursday, July 23rd at 6:30pm BST