This is the most important rule of all: drink what you love. Don’t let anybody tell you why you shouldn’t like what you like. When you dip a toe in the craft beer pool, begin with something similar to a beer you most enjoy. A flight ought to be gentle, not jarring. Don’t start with some big, over-the-top-with-hops style, a sour beer, or a strong stout. You’ll blow out your palate and won’t enjoy what comes next. Start with light beers, pilsners, and pale ales. There are English Pale Ales and India Pale Ales. IPAs are still trendy, but there are many other fascinating styles you can try.
When deciding which beers to include in a flight go with two that are somewhat familiar and two that might be a bit of a challenge. Start with the lightest first. Deeper, darker beers, such as red ales, brown ales, porters or stouts should be reserved for the end of a tasting. Remember to sip water in between, and have small bites of food to keep your head from getting too swimmy. If you are truly studying various types of beer, you want to keep your wits about you. Some like to take notes, while other tasters prefer to chat with an expert behind the bar or with friends to talk through flavor profiles and tasting notes. You don’t have to know any particular vocabulary. You only have to talk through what you are tasting on your tongue, consider the forward and base notes, and think about your experience. Close your eyes. Let your sense of taste take over.
Once you’ve tasted, tested, and learned what you like, it’s time to order a pint and sit back and relax. Or order a growler of your new favorite to take home. In this way you can continue your education. The student becomes the teacher. It’s true that when you bring back the goods, combined with new knowledge, you will find even more to love about a beer. You’ll start learning the language of a true craft brew enthusiast. It’s fun and thrilling to grow your expertise.
Everyone who loves beer is welcome here to begin or continue their education. So come down to the cozy Rock Harbor pub on Main Street in Rockland or the sleek new brew room, where our beer loving crafters and pourers will set you up with something amazing.