B2C newsletter

Client:  Gourmet Beer Society
Project:  Monthly member newsletter
Title:  Sophisticated sipping or no chugging allowed

Quality handcrafted beers offer an array of unique characteristics,
from their clever names and labels to their appearance, flavor and
aroma. Want to learn more about the world of micro-brewed beers?
Host a tasting with friends. Here are some tips to get started.

Beer mathematics 
How many people does it take to conduct a tasting?  Tasting enthusiasts suggest four to six participants.  To determine
the number of beers needed, follow this simple equation:  One 12-ounce bottle of beer will yield six two-ounce servings.
So a single bottle of beer will serve six participants, each sipping a two-ounce sample or four participants enjoying
a three-ounce sample.

It’s the ambience my dear
Just as a restaurant’s surroundings affect a diner’s total eating experience, so will the surroundings affect your guests’
sipping and savoring experience.  Your tasting room should be well lit and the table coverings a neutral color.  It’s
important that each taster can hold a glass of beer up against a light and neutral background in order to accurately
analyze and enjoy its color and overall appearance. Selecting background music, on the other hand, is completely
up to the discretion of the host.  Good choices are tunes that soothe the soul and inspire the taste buds.

Your tasting tools
All beers should be sampled from clear glasses that are sparkling clean.  A Belgian-style tasting glass works best
because its shape is conducive to observing, sniffing and tasting.  The rounded bottom allows the taster to easily
evaluate the beer’s appearance.  The curved shape of the glass also helps to retain the beer’s aroma, making it
easier to “capture the nose” before it disappears.  Be sure the glasses are large enough to hold at least two
ounces of beer with some head of foam.

Selecting the brews
The rule of thumb here is pretty simple.  Look for a selection that includes both light and dark styles.  Be sure
to serve the lightest, more mild-flavored styles first and then the darker, more intensely flavored ones.

Temperature is key
Remember, beer is best when served at the proper temperature.  For example, bottom-fermented lagers should
be served chilled at around 45° F.  Many of the top-fermented ales, stouts and Belgian specialties should be served
at cellar temperature, around 55° F.  Strong dark ales and barley wines should be served at room temperature.

Can we eat?
Professional beer tasters usually sip only plain water to cleanse the palate between tastings.  However, in social
situations, your guest may prefer bread or salt-free crackers to help clear the palate.  Be sure to offer plenty of
water too.

And now for the fun
When tasting micro-brewed beers, there are several important characteristics that should be evaluated:  appearance,
bouquet or aroma, body, flavor, finish and overall impression.  Because different beer styles vary significantly in all of
these areas, it’s best to bone up on typical characteristics of the beers you are serving.  So we suggest that you …

Check out this newsletter
If you’re new to micro-brewed beer tasting, be sure to refer to this newsletter to learn more about various beer styles
and their characteristics.  Our column, In Style, offers an in-depth look at the featured beer selection of the month.
Also be sure to peruse the Judge’s Choice page.  Here our judges review the featured beers’ appearance, aroma, body,
flavor, finish and general impression.  After you’ve completed your tasting, see how your reviews compare with those
of our judges. But above all, have fun, be a responsible host and enjoy.  Cheers!