Updated: Aug 8
Yes ! Surprise! Surprise! Beer tasting does have etiquette rules and procedures. If you are getting a group together to test some local brews I hope this article helps. If you are just going out with friends for a drunk fest beer tasting at the local breweries is not the way to go. The breweries in the area are trying to educate their clients on the nuances of the beer. They like to get their clients to develop their palate, get to know the vocabulary and knowledge on how they developed their brews. They will teach you how to assess the aroma, color, taste and the best temperature to serve and store beer at. FYI: different beers are stored at different temperatures. Lager or wheat beers should be stored in refrigerated storage of around 8 degrees. Brews with alcohol content of 8% or more need to be kept around 12 degrees.
You will not be allowed to smoke at the tasting. Smoking changes the taste of the beer. We suggest that you do not smoke for several hours before going beer testing. Choose under 7 beers to taste so as not to overwhelm you. Most tasting use special glasses for the tasting. They do not use beer mugs. They use either special tasting glasses or red wine glasses. They will start you out with lighter beers than go to higher alcohol beers.
You will be asked to first look at the color than the aroma of the beer before tasting the beer. Remember to take small sips so that you can get the full flavor of the beer. Most brewers will have you clear your palate between each sample using unsalted crackers or white bread and drinking with water.
I hope this article has been helpful. Beer tastings are a lot like wine tasting. They should be taken seriously. The most important thing is to enjoy yourselves and NEVER DRINK & DRIVE.