Even though it's the oldest fermented drink in the world, beer isn't beloved by everyone and there is a fair sized group of people who just don't like the taste of beer. Yet when everyone else around you continues to extol the virtues of every bottle of beer they've consumed, you might begin to wonder just what it is you're missing out on.
You may not believe it right now but to many people, good beer drinking experiences are akin to tasting fine wine or single malt scotch; indeed, one of the tests of a fine beer is that it does taste good. For you, liking the taste of beer may have to be an acquired approach but it can grow on you gradually through a better understanding of which beers might taste better (to you) and how to serve each beer so that it is at its optimal flavor. Perhaps it's time to reacquaint yourself with beer and to find a taste in beer that does please you.
1. Learn about the basic ingredients of beers.
The history of beer is fascinating and there are good histories you can read online or in books by beer devotees. Check the drinks section of your local library or bookstore for such books. In a nutshell for now, beer is the product of fermentation of extracts of malted cereals, in particular barley, and flavored with hops. Different countries have varying levels of strictness as to the "purity" of the beer brewing choices though. For example, under the German Purity Law (applicable in Germany), the only grain permitted is barley (along with malt, hops, yeast, and water). In most other countries, other grains rich in starch are also permitted to form the basis of beer, including maize, wheat, rice, rye, sorghum
2. Familiarize yourself with the styles of beer.
There are four main categories of beer, namely ales/porters/stouts (top fermentation), lagers (bottom fermentation), wheat beer (top fermentation), and wild fermentation/lambic. The variety or style of beer impacts the taste and this may be where your dislike of beer has arisen if you have only tried very commercial, bland varieties. Beer taste is considered to be measurable on a spectrum of three: 1. Malty beer (sweet); 2. Hoppy beer (bitter); and 3. Dark beer (heavily roasted malt), to pale and heavy (more alcoholic), to light (session). Bitterness (from the hops and tannins) should never reach acridity; if it does, it's a beer very few people would like regardless of their love of beer! In the four main types of beer, you will find these flavor generalizations apply
3. Learn about the different temperatures for different beers.
If you consume beer at the wrong temperature (for example, too warm or too cold), some of its flavor elements will be anesthetized and therefore the beer may taste bland or one element of the fine balance might overwhelm the other flavors in the beer. The best serving temperatures for beer are as follows
4. Use the right glassware for drinking beer
For some people, the whole drinking from the bottle and can is enough to put them off the beer drinking experience. Therefore, it's good to know that there is appropriate glassware for beer
5. Have the right atmosphere when enjoying a beer
As well, what you eat and/or drink prior to taking a sip, gulp or swig of your beer will affect how it tastes. The carbonation pulls fats and proteins off of your tongue and spreads the flavors and aromas all around your palate, which makes beer ideal for cheese pairing (such as Gouda and Maroilles). And most of all, have some beer loving friends with you, to help steer you in the direction of the best tasting beers!