These people at a bar may be distracted by the World Cup match they're watching, but they may want tips to drinking beer for the future. - Photo AFP
Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind when savouring artisanal brews.
When it comes to beer, some brews are made for indiscriminate quaffing, while others call for thoughtful and epicurean appreciation. Like exceptional wine or whisky, well-crafted beer deserves to be treated with respect.
1. Brush up on the main categories
For newcomers, the number of different types of beer on offer can be overwhelming. But a little knowledge on the ways beer is categorised can go a long way in guiding your tasting experience. Overall, beers typically fall into one of two categories: lagers and ales. Lagers, which are brewed at cooler temperatures with yeast that quickly settles on the bottom, typically offer clean, smooth and crisp flavours. Ales, in contrast, are known for sweeter, richer and often more complex flavors, the result of higher brewing temperatures and yeast that floats on the surface of the beer before settling. The sub-categories of ales are virtually endless, but some of the most popular are pale ales (light-coloured, hoppy, malty beers), porters (brown beer made with roasted malt), stouts (dark beers made without hops and with roasted barley) and amber ales (sweet, malty amber-coloured beers).
2. Respect the ideal serving temperature
Between pilsners, Belgian whites and stouts, each type of beer has its own ideal serving temperature. So it’s a good idea to consult the label before putting your beer in the fridge. In general, lagers should be served cold (4-7°C), while ales should be served cool (8-12°C) or at “cellar” temperature (12-14°C) depending on the type. In case your beer doesn’t come with any indication on the label, Ratebeer.com provides a useful guide.