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The Beer Circle » Cigar City Brewing Co., Cisco Brewers, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Sixpoint Brewery, Tastings, Tröegs Brewing Co. » Low Key Beer Tasting event – How To

Low Key Beer Tasting event – How To

Last weekend after running a 5k, a group of running beer drinkers (or is it beer drinking runners?) and I got together to help make more room in my beer fridge. I wanted to use this as an opportunity to introduce different breweries and styles that I have experienceded in my extensive drinking research. We didn’t take notes but did share our thoughts.

Beers (in order of appearance):


Why I placed the beers in that order:

Pale Ales and IPAs are very well known and you know what to expect so they were a good entrance into a tasting. Each of the IPAs were slightly different. I stayed away from serious hop-bombs but wanted to push things a bit. Resin, as the name implies, emparts a strong pine and malt aroma. Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale shows the lighter use of hops while the Hoptimum brings back more of the pine but also adds a floral hint. The last of the IPAs was the Fresh Hop. While the hops had faded a bit this was the first fresh hop beer that the group had tasted and one could still taste the sharper taste that fresh hops impart to a beer.

The Fresh Hop and the Marzen initiated discussion about the benefits of small-sized test batches: experimentation, tighter process control, etc. What I considered important here was that the group had never had small-batch beers. While they do drink craft beer they usually stick with the bigger names.

I cranked things up a bit with the last two beers. At this point two of my guests had lit up cigars so Guava Grove was the perfect beer to open next. I introduced the use of different ingredients that aren’t normally found in most beers: guava and cherries. While Guava Grove is a saison-style beer you definitely taste the tropical aspects that the guava imparts and the slight sour finish. Last up was Cherry Woods, the color and taste, while not extreme, were nothing like my guests had tasted before: pink and sour.


  • Know your audience so you can plan the beers accordingly
  • Start off with a known style/taste and before you introduce something new
  • Try not to introduce more than one new style or taste in a general tasting
  • Whether you have tasting sheets like Garrett used in An Adventure in Family Beer Tasting or no, keep it light hearted.
  • Most importantly, don’t expect too much. Some beers may hit but some may fall flat.


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Written by Bob Pack

Simply put, Bob is a beer lover. He goes out of his way to try new beers whenever he can find them. The love of trying new beers had resulted in a beer label collection of over 1400. When it comes down to it, Bob is a hop head. He loves IPAs (including double and black). Stouts are a close second. His tweet reviews on @nova_beer are simple and approachable. Let him know what you think. Find Bob Pack on Google Plus

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