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How to Host an At-Home Beer Tasting

Beer flight

Getting a flight of beer at a brewery is fun, but what do you do if you want a little more variety in your labels? Hosting your own at-home beer tasting means you can create a truly unique experience. Here's how to do it. 

Know your audience

Planning your guest list is key when it comes to hosting a tasting.

Do you have guests who don't really like beer that much (the horror!)? Or are your guests the type of beer geeks that read blogs and listen to podcasts in order to get their own homebrew perfect? Or is it a mix?

Knowing who you're inviting and what their comfort level is will dictate everything from what beers you serve to how you want to structure your event. 

Get advice from your local expert

One of the great things about the relatively recent popularity of craft beer is that it’s so accessible now. It doesn’t matter if you’re a newbie or a beer aficionado, our experts are happy to walk you through your selection and share their knowledge with you.

The Tap on Ponce staff can recommend everything from a beer that'll please even the non-beer drinkers to something super funky that gets the beer geeks at the party intrigued. 

Think about breaking out the big guns

So what if this isn’t your first rodeo? You've been sampling craft beer from the day you turned 21, so now you want to push the envelope a little bit.

A beer tasting is a great opportunity to crack open those rare bottles you’ve been hoarding saving. Invite some other beer geeks over and ask them to bring their special bottles so you can all experience something new.

You could also try to plan your event around Open That Bottle Night, an annual celebration that encourages you to enjoy that special bottle you’ve been saving.

It began as a wine-specific event in 2000 by Dorthy J. Gaiter and John Brecher from the Wall Street Journal, but there’s no reason beer can’t join in, too! Open That Bottle Night is officially celebrated the last Saturday of February, but don't let that hold you back. Our philosophy is it's never a bad time to open a good bottle!

Get the right glasses

If you really want to go all out on your tasting night, think about investing in the right glassware.

Each style of beer should be served in a specific type of glass and the staff at the store should be able to help you choose.

If you're not interested in stocking your home with all new glasses, you could also use wine glasses or regular pint glass. Don't worry too much if you can't find the right glass. Remember, any glass that's full of delicious beer is the right glass!

Go in the correct order  

Some beers are more overpowering than others, which is why you should taste your flights in a certain order.

Make sure you go from your lightest beer to your darkest beer to avoid ruining your palate early on in the tasting. And those sours? Put them at the end because they'll definitely affect what you can taste. 

Cleanse the palate 

Speaking of palate, you might want to try to add a little cleanser in between each tasting. Sparkling water works great to get the taste of one beer out of your mouth and get you ready for the next one. 

Plan for snacks

No one likes drinking on an empty stomach. Once you have your beer list ask one of our experts to recommend some good snacks that you can pair with each beer. It can be as simple as a cheese tray or as intense as a full meal. Bonus points for providing a simple cracker that can double as a palate cleanser.

Take notes—or don’t

Part of the fun of a tasting is figuring out what you like and don't like. Taking notes is a great way to encourage guests to really think about what they're drinking, plus it gives them something to go back to in case their memory is a little fuzzy.

But you don't have to take tasting notes just because you're doing a tasting. Some of the best events are a laid-back gathering of friends!

If you are planning on doing tasting notes, print out a few copies of CraftBeer.com's free tasting sheet and be sure to take a look at some of our terminology explainers so you can impress your friends with your in-depth knowledge. 

Just one last thing—don't forget your bottle opener!

Head on over and see what we have on tap

Category: Beer