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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: MrNate on February 26, 2010, 05:21:36 PM

Title: Beer Tasting - Suggestions?
Post by: MrNate on February 26, 2010, 05:21:36 PM
Ok, not sure of the best place to ask this, but here goes: I have been volunteered to host a beer tasting next month. For a group of women. Any suggestions on what to serve? Do I try to go the "gateway beer" route or do you think it'd be OK to throw in a HopDevil or DFH-n?

Also, I have no clue what to expect in terms of alcohol tolerance. Not trying to be sexist, but I just have no clue how to estimate what a reasonable amount of beer would be.

Any suggestions as to what to serve, and how many rounds is reasonable?
Title: Re: Beer Tasting - Suggestions?
Post by: denny on February 26, 2010, 05:26:51 PM
My wife is a tiny thing who drinks pretty much only my 70+ IBU, 8+% ABV beers.  When I brought home a 10%, 100+ IBU IIPA and warned her about it, her response was pretty much "so what?".  Now, she's not a heavy drinker, but she likes the flavorful, bitter beers.  And many of the women beer drinkers I know around here are like that.  So I wouldn't make any gender based decisions.  Just get a variety of good beers and you should have something that will cover everyone.
Title: Re: Beer Tasting - Suggestions?
Post by: Hokerer on February 26, 2010, 05:32:51 PM
Just get a variety of good beers and you should have something that will cover everyone.

and lean toward having too much vs not enough.  As long as they're "good beers", that means more for you afterwards
Title: Re: Beer Tasting - Suggestions?
Post by: bluesman on February 26, 2010, 05:47:35 PM
As long as they're "good beers", that means more for you afterwards

+1
Title: Re: Beer Tasting - Suggestions?
Post by: MrNate on February 26, 2010, 05:51:31 PM
Denny, I do see your point. On the other hand, this is New Jersey, not the craft beer capital of America. Yes, it's a regional and gender-biased opinion, but from what I've seen of the group of women my wife hangs out with it tends to hold true. So I apologize for the misogyny, but if my opinion happened to be correct would you still recommend the same thing?
Title: Re: Beer Tasting - Suggestions?
Post by: akr71 on February 26, 2010, 05:55:18 PM
Just get a variety of good beers and you should have something that will cover everyone.

+1  Try to demonstrate that there are many styles of beer - malty to hoppy and all kinds in between and that there is bound to be a style out there for everyone.  I would do the same for the alcohol strength - some light, some stronger.
Title: Re: Beer Tasting - Suggestions?
Post by: denny on February 26, 2010, 05:56:07 PM
So I apologize for the misogyny, but if my opinion happened to be correct would you still recommend the same thing?

No apology necessary....I've heard enough about situations opposite to mine that I understand, and you obviously know the group you're serving for.  In that case, maybe temper my suggestion.  But I still say don't "pander"....you don't necessarily need to have a heavy selection of IIPA, but neither would I make it all light fruity stuff, either.  You might be surprised (as might the tasters themselves) what they like if they have a chance to try.  So, maybe some AM. IPA and a couple British beers, along with stuff like Lindeman's.
Title: Re: Beer Tasting - Suggestions?
Post by: MrNate on February 26, 2010, 06:00:45 PM
How many rounds do you think is reasonable? 6? How many ounces do you pour for a tasting? How many are usually in a flight?
Title: Re: Beer Tasting - Suggestions?
Post by: tom on February 26, 2010, 06:14:39 PM
A couple ounces is more than enough for a taste.
There are many different types of beers than most people know about.
I would have an American Light lager and a Guiness stout. Ask them which one has more calories - they are about the same. The dark is strong theory out the window.
Many friends who like wine like the Belgian Strong Ales.
Then a malty vs hoppy, etc.
Have fun.
Title: Re: Beer Tasting - Suggestions?
Post by: riverrat on February 26, 2010, 07:01:35 PM
Definitely smaller portions (about 2 ounces is more than sufficient for a quick sample) with more options, and the opportunity to go back to the ones they enjoyed most afterwards.  There will be ones that they absolutely will not drink, and there will be ones that pleasantly surprise them and you. 

Try to keep some time between samples (chatting with friends and snacking on food work well) so they have a chance to self-moderate their level of intake to what they are comfortable with.

My wife typically won't go near any of the beer I make (severe aversion to hops, flavor, darker color, etc...), but she tried a winter ale and actually didn't mind it.  Blew my mind.
Title: Re: Beer Tasting - Suggestions?
Post by: bluesman on February 26, 2010, 07:44:15 PM
Maybe you could take a quick survey. Ask them what they drink now and would they be willing to broaden their horizons.
Title: Re: Beer Tasting - Suggestions?
Post by: MrNate on February 26, 2010, 07:45:21 PM
I have some Miller 64 I was going to serve at the end alongside some seltzer... See if anyone could tell the difference.

What do you think about this lineup?

Hacker-Pschorr Edelhelle
Pilsner Urquell
Hogaarden
Fuller's ESB
Sierra Nevada PA or Anchor Steam
DFH 90
Guinness Stout
Paulaner Salvator

MAYBE:
Duvel (because I've never tried it and this is a good excuse)
Orval or some other trappist or abbey
Samichlaus

..I'm thinking about the last 3 because I think that pushing the envelope of what people expect "beer" to be is a quick way of broadening appreciation.
Title: Re: Beer Tasting - Suggestions?
Post by: denny on February 26, 2010, 07:48:31 PM
I think Duvel might be a good choice.  It's not very "Belgiany".
Title: Re: Beer Tasting - Suggestions?
Post by: MrNate on February 26, 2010, 08:06:39 PM
Is Duvel hoppy? How would you describe it? Wait, that's dumb. I'll just pick some up and find out.

I can't ask about preferences because I won't know exactly who's coming until a week before, which is why I'm evaluating the general pool and making some broad-brush assumptions.
Title: Re: Beer Tasting - Suggestions?
Post by: bluesman on February 26, 2010, 08:08:36 PM
I think Duvel might be a good choice.  It's not very "Belgiany".

+1

and it will make them very happy.  ;D
Title: Re: Beer Tasting - Suggestions?
Post by: deepsouth on February 26, 2010, 08:10:29 PM
My wife is a tiny thing who drinks pretty much only my 70+ IBU, 8+% ABV beers.  When I brought home a 10%, 100+ IBU IIPA and warned her about it, her response was pretty much "so what?".  Now, she's not a heavy drinker, but she likes the flavorful, bitter beers.  And many of the women beer drinkers I know around here are like that.  So I wouldn't make any gender based decisions.  Just get a variety of good beers and you should have something that will cover everyone.


+1  my wife loves the uber hoppy and the uber stouty.  hard to pigeonhole what a lady will drink now-a-days.
Title: Re: Beer Tasting - Suggestions?
Post by: mtbrewer on February 26, 2010, 08:27:02 PM
My wife is a tiny thing who drinks pretty much only my 70+ IBU, 8+% ABV beers.  When I brought home a 10%, 100+ IBU IIPA and warned her about it, her response was pretty much "so what?".  Now, she's not a heavy drinker, but she likes the flavorful, bitter beers.  And many of the women beer drinkers I know around here are like that.  So I wouldn't make any gender based decisions.  Just get a variety of good beers and you should have something that will cover everyone.


+1  my wife loves the uber hoppy and the uber stouty.  hard to pigeonhole what a lady will drink now-a-days.

My wife is the same way. A local brewery(closed now) made some great beers. One was so-so, an amber, it was the one that most of the bmc crowd liked. I think it was a good gateway beer to get people on track to what good beer is. I would start at the low end of the spectrum and progress.
Title: Re: Beer Tasting - Suggestions?
Post by: theoman on February 26, 2010, 08:28:37 PM
Is Duvel hoppy? How would you describe it? Wait, that's dumb. I'll just pick some up and find out.

Good idea. You can't go wrong with Duvel. It's a clean, fairly dry, well-balanced beer. It's one of my wife's favorites and a must for accompanying grilled tuna melts.
Title: Re: Beer Tasting - Suggestions?
Post by: MrNate on February 26, 2010, 08:54:28 PM
Ok, so Duvel seems to be a good choice. Any opinions on the rest? Are there better choices for the style or other must-haves I haven't thought of?
Title: Re: Beer Tasting - Suggestions?
Post by: akr71 on February 26, 2010, 10:12:15 PM
A couple ounces is more than enough for a taste.
There are many different types of beers than most people know about.
I would have an American Light lager and a Guiness stout. Ask them which one has more calories - they are about the same. The dark is strong theory out the window.

This is a great idea for what else to have.  I liked the list you put together too Nate.
Title: Re: Beer Tasting - Suggestions?
Post by: tankdeer on February 26, 2010, 11:06:44 PM
Duvel is more hoppy than malty, but in general it's extremely well balanced. I would think it would appeal to white wine drinkers, as it has something of a Chardonay character to it. Wierd that I love Duvel yet hate Chardonay. ;)

But yeah, I agree with everybody. Just go for a good selection that covers the spectrum. Small samples are better as long as they can get more of something that they like more.

I see that you have a lot of imports on your list, and I'm guessing it's less of an issue on the East coast than the West, but I would be at least a little concerened with freshness. Unfortunately a lot of the imports are past their prime by the time we get there here. The Helles and ESB on your list would make me the most worried. And make sure you buy your PU in cans - world of difference.

Personally I would mix more craft beer in there too. Maybe a 50/50 mix of craft and imports. Let them know that there is good beer being made locally as well as in EU.

If you really want to thrown them for a loop, throw some Hitachino's Nest in there. Most people don't expect good craft beer from Japan. ;D
Title: Re: Beer Tasting - Suggestions?
Post by: novabrew on February 26, 2010, 11:28:13 PM
I would add an amber and a brown ale, otherwise it looks good.
Title: Re: Beer Tasting - Suggestions?
Post by: MrNate on February 26, 2010, 11:43:52 PM
The helles and ESB are both usually fine. The PU is what usually has issues, for obvious reasons.

I went with imports for two reasons: First, I wanted iconic representations of classic styles. Second, it's typically easier to find imports than craft brew around here, especially in bars. Seems like the craft brews people want to carry around here are the odd ducks - bourbon barrel winter warmers, pumpkin beers, fruity beers, etc. I can't pretend to understand the distro situation here, but it's not exactly beer mecca. So I figured it made sense to sample things they could actually find if they wanted.
Title: Re: Beer Tasting - Suggestions?
Post by: tankdeer on February 26, 2010, 11:47:46 PM
Fair enough. Well if you're going to bars, it may be out of your hands, but if you have the option, get PU in cans - no skunk!  ;D