How To Plan Your Own Beer Tasting At Home

To host a beer tasting at home is a surprisingly easy and fun thing to do. My best tips are to keep it small, four people is best, keep it casual, this is not an official beer tasting, it’s about having fun with friends. Guests all bring their own beer, one to two beers each. Use a beer flight and identical glassware to taste from. And don’t forget to provide beer score sheets and pens.

Let me elaborate on those five tips, plus give you five more.

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How To Plan Your Own Beer Tasting At Home

A beer tasting evening is an ideal thing to host at home, especially if you have a home bar or pub shed. These spaces are ideal for a beer tasting session, you as the host behind the bar controlling things and your friends on bar stools the other side of the bar, ideal.

So let me go through the basic things needed and what to set up ready for your beer tasting evening. Not that you have to do it in the evening, you can do it any time of the day.

Here are the five basic things to consider.

Keep Your Beer Tasting Small Scale

Keep Your Beer Tasting Small Scale

In my own humble opinion it is best to keep you beer tasting event small. Just a few friends will be best, I say four people including you as the host.

However this is a personal choice, so there is no hard rule here. I just think the more people involved the harder it is to control proceedings.

The more people, the longer it will take to taste each beer you have planned for the beer tasting session. So things could drag on a little too long.

Plus it keeps the event more economical, one can or bottle will be enough to give four people a good sample to taste. Ten people might mean two to three cans or bottles of the same beer for each tasting.

Keep Your Beer Tasting A Casual Affair

It is supposed to be a fun event with friends, so don’t be too formal or strict about the beer tasting. And remember people have different palates, so you may all get different aromas or flavours from the same beer.

Keep it light hearted and conversational, don’t question people too much and make it into a task. Just try the beer and discuss it casually, have fun with it.

This way your friends will be more likely to want to return and do it again, exploring more beers in the future. It could be a regular slot in your home bar or pub shed entertainment schedule (schedule, there goes me getting a bit formal, but you know what I mean).

Just keep it fun.

Who Supplies The Beer And How Many Do You Serve?

Think BYOB, or bring your own beer. You plus each guest brings an equal amount of beer each.

This is a good idea because:

  1. It shares the cost
  2. Each guest gets to bring the beer of their choice
  3. Makes it more exciting anticipating what your guests will bring

The amount of beer each guest brings is something that should be discussed in advanced. I think one to two beers per person giving you four or eight beers to try over the evening.

Go for four if you want a short beer tasting session, or go for eight if you want it to go on for longer.

If you get one beer each, then each person is only consuming one can or bottle each. Whereas if you get two beers each, then each person is consuming two cans or bottles each.

When making this decision do think about the strength of the beer. If everyone turns up with two beers that are all 6.0 – 9.0% ABV then it could get messy.

Discuss it beforehand and maybe set a limit on the ABV of the beers you all bring.

Serve Your Beers On A Flight

Beer Tasting At Home

For authenticity why not serve your beers on a flight, I don’t mean on an airplane. When you try sample beers in a pub or bar they tend to serve them on a beer flight. A small wooden board that will typically hold four small glasses.

They are really cool, but they also have a space to write what beer each one is and the ABV, ideal for your beer tasting session.

Also they are fairly cheap to buy and normally include the glasses too, the perfect size glasses to sample new beer, and identical too.

It’s a no brainer.

Beer Score Sheets

Now there is nothing complicated about this and you don’t have to go to your local printer to get some made up.

Just write out a simple score four times, or write out one and photocopy it. Better still know a simple score sheet up on your computer and print them out.

As I said it doesn’t have to be complicated, keep it simple.

Here are my suggested things to include on your beer tasting score sheets.

  1. Look: What colour is the beer? Is it clear or hazy? What is the size of the head? How much visible carbonation is there?
  2. Aroma: What is your nose picking up? Is it malty aromas? Or citrus and hoppy? Particular aromas like grapefruit, mango or lemon perhaps.
  3. Taste: Similar to aroma, what flavours are you getting? Malty and caramel? Or citrus and hoppy? Just describe what you are getting and any particular flavours that stand out.
  4. Mouthfeel: Is it light or does it feel heavy with a full body? Are you getting smooth and creamy or is it crisp and sharp? How does the carbonation feel in your mouth?
  5. Score: Now each person will score the beer on their own sheet. I normally score a beer out of 5. So it could be 4.3 out of 50. That would represent a pretty good beer.

If you would like a more in depth beer tasting guide, then Craft Beer have a great guide you can download.

Once all beer tasting is complete you can compare the scores for each beer. Then find out from all the beers, which beer got the overall highest score. That beer becomes the winner of your beer tasting party.

How good is that?

More Beer Tasting Stuff

Here a few other things you can think about when hosting a beer tasting evening.

  1. Music: Play some music, nothing too loud so you can’t hear each other speaking, but just some background music to keep thinks light.
  2. Temperature: If you are hosting a beer tasting evening in the summer, then make sure your space is not too hot. The same goes for the winter, make sure your guests keep warm. There is nothing worse than being too hot or too cold when you are trying to focus.
  3. Snacks: Why not have a few snacks available for your beer tasting guests. A little nibble between tastings might be nice while you are discussing the beer in hand. Nothing too strong in flavour, or too spicy, it might affect the flavour of the next beer.
  4. Water: Have some nice chilled water on hand so you and your guests can cleanse the palate between beers.
  5. Beer Tasting Order: Place you beer in some kind of order to taste. Maybe lowest ABV first, and the highest ABV last. Or select by type of beer, light lager through pale ales, IPA’s and stouts last. The choice is yours, but this give is some kind of structure.

This sounds like a good evening to me, don’t forget to invite me 🙂

Final Thoughts

A beer tasting evening is a great way to enjoy time with family and friends. To recap, here are the main points to remember.

  1. Small Scale is best
  2. Keep it casual and fun
  3. BYOB Share the cost
  4. Serve on a beer flight
  5. Include Beer score sheets
  6. Music, soft and background
  7. Temperature, climate control
  8. Snacks, light in flavour
  9. Water to clean the palate
  10. Tasting order

Armed with this simple list, anyone can host their own beer tasting event in their own homes.

I hop you have found this article interesting, but above all helpful. Share your thoughts below if you have any questions, or suggestion. Or just share your beer tasting parties with your family and friends.

Happy Tasting.

4 thoughts on “How To Plan Your Own Beer Tasting At Home”

  1. Hey Rob,

    Just finished reading your guide on hosting a beer tasting at home, and I’m inspired! Your blend of practical advice and enthusiasm for good beer and great company hits the mark perfectly. This weekend, I’m planning to rally the mates for a casual beer-tasting session, guided by your expertise. The idea of keeping it small and intimate resonates well with us; it’s all about quality time and quality brews, after all.

    The BYOB structure you suggested is brilliant. It not only eases the host’s burden but also adds an element of surprise and discovery as each friend brings their own favourite or a new, intriguing find to the table. We’re all about sharing the cost and the taste!

    Incorporating your suggestion, we’ll be using a beer flight for an authentic tasting experience. I can already picture the setup: identical glassware lined up, ready to take us on a flavorful journey. The beer score sheets are going to be a game-changer for us. It’s not just about tasting; it’s about engaging with the beer, and discussing its look, aroma, taste, and mouthfeel. This adds a layer of interaction that we’ve never explored before in our casual get-togethers.

    I’m taking your advice to heart about keeping the evening light-hearted and focused on fun. It’s easy to get carried away with details and forget that the essence of this gathering is to enjoy each other’s company and the beers in hand. Your reminder to maintain a balance between organization and casual enjoyment is exactly what I needed to hear.

    To enhance the evening further, I’m considering your additional tips: a curated playlist for a subtle background ambience, ensuring the space is comfortable regardless of the season, offering light snacks to complement the beer, and having water ready for palate cleansing between tastings. The structure you suggested for the beer-tasting order makes perfect sense and will definitely be implemented.

    Rob, your guide is not just helpful; it’s the catalyst for what I’m sure will be a memorable evening with friends. The anticipation of sharing our beer discoveries and preferences, all while keeping it relaxed and enjoyable, is already building excitement among the group. Thanks for the comprehensive tips and for the nudge to make this happen. Here’s to a successful beer-tasting night!

    Cheers to sharing more than just beers, but experiences and laughter. And who knows, this might just become our new favourite way to catch up and unwind. Thanks again for the inspiration and the practical roadmap to a great time.

    Happy tasting to us!

    Reply
    • Hi John,

      I am so pleased that you enjoyed my article ‘How To Plan Your Own Beer Tasting At Home’. The fact that you are actually going to host your own with friends is really cool, and it sounds like you have really taken everything on board.

      The beer flight and score sheets make for an authentic beer tasting event. While BTOB is definitely the way to go because you not only share the cost, but you also get to try the others beer choices.

      Your enthusiasm  and beer tasting night has inspired me to set up another with my friends, as we haven’t done one this year. I’ll soon change that, and I hope you enjoy your night tasting those beers with your friends.

      Cheers

      Rob

      Reply
  2. Hi Rob, interesting article about planning a beer tasting party at home. Beer is a popular subject all around the world. That’s for sure. It shouldn’t be difficult to get people to attend. Keeping it small scale is definitely best. Yeah, it’s supposed to be fun and sharing the cost by having people bring beer themselves makes a lot of sense. It’s almost like a chili cook off but instead it’s like a beer share off. I love the score card idea.

    Bob

    Reply
    • Hi Bob,

      Thanks for your thoughts on beer tasting at home. It is a great way to spend an evening with friends and to try some new beers too, as there are always plenty of new ones being released. The score cards just add to the fun element of the beer tasting, and it is interesting how different people get different aromas and tastes too.

      I like the comparison to a chilli cook off, that would be a good night to, and you could pair the chilli with different beers.

      Cheers

      Rob

      Reply

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