If you are a beer drinker, you undoubtedly have a favorite style and probably a beloved brand. If you are a craft beer drinker, you may be more adventurous – always looking for the next big thing in beer drinking. You probably read about new local breweries and styles. You ask friends about their last beer drinking experience. You even go out of your way to find hidden pubs that might offer something out of the ordinary in their beer selection. Always, however, the goal is to find a “good” beer. That leads to the question: What makes a beer a good beer? The team at Cheers All tries to answer that question in the form of some guidance you can use when trying out the next new craft beer you happen to stumble upon.
Good Beer Guidelines
Ultimately, a “good” beer is a beer that you enjoy drinking. If you want to take that analysis a step further, however, you might want to consider the following questions when deciding if a beer makes the “good beer” list:
Is it true to style? Brewers and beer enthusiasts are intimately familiar with most of the tried-and-true beer styles. Those styles can be a bit fickle though, and new styles are added with some regularity. Nevertheless, if you are trying a new beer labeled as a stout, ask yourself if it appears to be true to style.
Are the basic elements present? Brewing beer can be a complex and laborious process. It can go incredibly right or horribly wrong. At first glance/taste, do the basic elements of a successful process appear to be there? Is it light if it should be or dark if it should not be? Is the head there? Does it smell inviting? How is the clarity?
Are there any obvious faults? One might argue that there are no true “faults” when it comes to brewing beers – only failed experiments. If, however, you are trying out a new IPA you should not experience a metallic aftertaste. A pale ale should not appear thick. Certain flavors go with certain styles and do not go with other styles. You get the idea.
Is there balance? Craft beer brewing is also an art form that requires an artist to accomplish well. Basic beer brewing may use the same key ingredients; however, brewing a really good beer requires the brew master to understand how to tweak those ingredients and make them dance in the finished product. It also requires the brew master to know when to add additional ingredients, which ones to add, and how much of those ingredients will add to the beer instead of taking away from it. This all falls into the category of “balance.” Do you taste/experience balance in the beer?
Does the beer stand out? While it is arguably difficult to come up with a truly unique, new beer, you do not want to waste your time and money drinking something you have already experienced numerous times – particularly if your goal is to try new beers. So ask yourself if the beer stands out among its peers? Is there something distinctive about it? It might be aroma, the flavors, the head, the clarity, or even the warm fuzzy feeling you are left with after you are done drinking it. The important thing is that something about the beer stands out to you.
Is the beer refined or novel? Here, it depends on what you are looking for in a beer. Some people prefer the refined complexity of European beers. Others prefer the novelty more often found in American craft beers. Whichever end of the spectrum attracts you, make sure the beer complies before deciding your new find is a “good” beer.
If you are a craft beer drinker, visit the Cheers All website to purchase glassware and other merchandise geared toward cider lovers.
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