Seems that beer enthusiasts are consumed with talking about beer styles. Is this one brewed to style? Is this one not? How about which style beer goes with which kind of food? Which styles do you like or not like?
ENOUGH, I say!!
If you want to educate about beer, you must start with flavors first. Talking about styles don’t matter one malted barley kernel unless you know about flavor first. Jumping to styles is a bad tact and one that is sadly all too common.
Try this instead:
1. First of all relax, make a conscious effort to not judge or argue. Make these conversations productive and enjoyable for everyone.
2. When talking with someone, anyone, about beer, start the conversation with “what kinds of flavors do you enjoy?” Make sure to qualify it by stating all flavors, not just beer flavors. The world will open up.
3. Ask a question and then listen. Try “what do you like about that flavor?” and let them talk. Stay silent, don’t argue.
4. Then start going back and forth in conversation, making sure it’s a diplomatic exchange, never judgmental. Enjoy yourself and plug-in to learn something new from the other person.
Talking about flavor opens up entirely new idea avenues for you and your guests. Your guests support the brand so always be listening. People want to talk to you about your brand, about what they think about your brand so be a diplomat and take it all in graciously. Very few people will maliciously attack a brand with a brand representative.
Talk about flavor. Leave style behind for now.
Eventually style will emerge as people grow and learn and it’s not critical to enjoying beer. What are critical are an open mind, open ears and grace.