What Makes a Good Beer?

bevPLUS
22nd March 2018

What really makes a great beer? That is quite a tough one to answer. Is good taste not in the tastebuds of the beer holder?  

Taste is something that evolves over time. If you hated something the first time you tried it, chances are you won’t hate it forever. In most cases, something that is “good” or even “great” really depends on each person’s individual preference.  In the case of beer, it also depends on the beer style one enjoys most. Our method: try as many styles as possible. Read up about them as you try them, make tasting notes and don’t knock any style until you’ve tried it (and a few varieties of it). 

Drinking beer should be a beautiful multi-sensory experience, so take it in. Close your eyes, take a sip and open your mind to the experience of your first sip.  

So what are the factors that one needs to take into consideration when deciding on whether a beer is good or not? One has to consider aspects such as:

  • smoothness
  • bitterness
  • freshness
  • hop varieties
  • malt bill
  • yeast strain
  • temperature 

 

…and believe it or not, even the glass you drink it out of makes a difference. But is a beer truly good because the Brewer gets just the right balance of ingredients? Or is it the quality of ingredients the brewer uses? 

But the truth is, a truly skilled brewer is as much an artist as a chef is. A brewmaster has to have an established concept for the beer they are brewing and know what impressions they want that beer to make on the consumer that will be drinking it. A beer that successfully executes this concept can objectively be considered a "good/great beer".

Here’s a little infographic of what goes into making a beer - and perhaps the secret recipe to what makes beer so good:

A good beer can also taste great when it’s paired with the right foods. For example, a blonde Ale goes down well with lighter foods such as salmon, chicken, salads or light nutty cheeses, while an IPA would partner best with stronger, spicier foods, sweet desserts or cheeses such as gorgonzola and cambozola.

MYTH: You have to drink your beer ice cold to enjoy it. 

MYTH BUSTED: Apparently if you’re drinking your beer ice cold, you’re doing it wrong! According to Slate, drinking beer at ice-cold temperatures, as is often recommended, ruins the enjoyment of the beer. The intense cold prevents the key aromatic compounds from dispersing. If the beer is too cold, the drinker will not be able to experience certain aromas and flavours. “The brewers association does not recommend any beer to be served below the temperature of 4ºC. Most draft systems are built to operate between 3 and 4 ºC. But don’t let this worry you, there are such things as temperature guides to help you get the full flavour and aroma of the beer you are drinking. 

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