In honor of National Beer Day (April 7th), we’re pleased to feature Jeff Alworth, the author of our brand-new Beer Tasting Tool Kit. Jeff is also the blogger behind Beervana, where he has been writing about fine brews since 2006. Please join us in raising a glass to Jeff.
Flavor is easy, right? Put something into your mouth, chew or swish, and taste. But what goes into this thing we call flavor? Neuroscientists have identified a whole raft of elements that create flavor, from taste and aroma to the way food feels (we have pressure sensors in our mouth), to things happening in our brains like mood and memories. All get fused together when we put something in our mouths. With beer, much of what influences our perception have to do with cues we pick up long before we take the first sip.
Blind tasting is one of the most powerful tools we have to understand beer. Remove those cues given to you by a bottle of beer—the name of the brewery, the style, the cost of the bottle, the design on the label—you are left with only what your senses can tell you. With no cheats available, you have to immerse yourself in the aromas, flavors, and textures of the beer. This heightens experience and allows you to really get to know your beer. With experience, you’ll begin to identify flavors that come from hops, malt, and fermentation processes. You’ll learn what characterizes style and what makes beers different. Most importantly, you’ll begin to discover which beers you like and why that’s so.
Everything you need to conduct a tasting is included in The Beer Tasting Toolkit: handy numbered sacks that accommodate everything from a stubby to a 750 ml bottle, tasting notepads, a short-hand guide with key aroma and flavor terms, and a 48-page booklet that describes elements of flavor, beer styles, and how to conduct a tasting. There are tips about which beers to include in your tasting as well as suggestions for food and beer pairings.
All you need to do is add the beer.
Want to have a tasting party of your own? Leave a comment here (or hop over to Facebook to leave a comment) telling us why you’re the world’s biggest beer fanatic for a chance to win your very own National Beer Day Party Kit. The kit will include a copy of the Beer Tasting Tool Kit, a copy of The Book of Beer Pong, and 1 Spiegelau Beer Classics Beer Connoisseur Gift Set of 4 glasses. All we ask in return is that you send us some pictures from the party so we can feature you on our blog! Hurry, you must comment today to be entered into the drawing!
HOW TO ENTER FOR A CHANCE TO WIN:
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The winner will be chosen at random from all eligible entries received by the entry deadline. Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received. Sponsor will notify Winners by email.
The grand-prize winner will receive 1 copy of the Beer Tasting Tool Kit, 1 copy of The Book of Beer Pong, and 1 Spiegelau Beer Classics Beer Connoisseur Gift Set of 4. The Winner can expect to receive the book within 30 days of receiving email notification that their entry has been chosen at random to win.
For the name of the Winners, send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to Online Marketing Manager, Chronicle Books, 680 Second Street, San Francisco, CA 94107.
By participating in this sweepstakes, entrants agree to abide by these official rules. Sponsor is not responsible for injury or damage to any computer, other equipment, or person relating to or resulting from participation in the sweepstakes. Entrants release Sponsor, its agencies, and assigns from any liability, damage and/or loss resulting from participating in this sweepstakes and/or the acceptance, use or misuse of the prize. Acceptance of the prize constitutes permission for Sponsor to publish, post online, or otherwise refer to the name of the winner in any and all forms and media throughout the world, and for any and all publicity or promotional purposes, without obligation or compensation, except where prohibited by law.
The winner is required to share pictures from his or her National Beer Day party with Chronicle Books and agree to the pictures be shared on Chronicle Books blog and social networks.
Chronicle Books, 680 Second Street, San Francisco, CA 94107.