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
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:
- It shares the cost
- Each guest gets to bring the beer of their choice
- 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
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.
- Look: What colour is the beer? Is it clear or hazy? What is the size of the head? How much visible carbonation is there?
- Aroma: What is your nose picking up? Is it malty aromas? Or citrus and hoppy? Particular aromas like grapefruit, mango or lemon perhaps.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- Music: Play some music, nothing too loud so you can’t hear each other speaking, but just some background music to keep thinks light.
- 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.
- 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.
- Water: Have some nice chilled water on hand so you and your guests can cleanse the palate between beers.
- 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 🙂
A beer tasting evening is a great way to enjoy time with family and friends. To recap, here are the main points to remember.
- Small Scale is best
- Keep it casual and fun
- BYOB Share the cost
- Serve on a beer flight
- Include Beer score sheets
- Music, soft and background
- Temperature, climate control
- Snacks, light in flavour
- Water to clean the palate
- 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.
Rob is a passionate home bar and pub shed enthusiast with a passion for craft beer. With hands-on experience in designing and building his own home bar, Rob shares his knowledge, tips, and inspiration to help fellow enthusiasts create their own perfect space. Alongside the world of home bars and pub sheds, Rob also explores the diverse and exciting realm of craft beer, providing honest reviews to help you discover your next favorite brew. Join Rob on a journey of flavor, design, and craftsmanship right here on Home Bar Kit.