What precisely is style?
According to Dictionary.com, one definition is “a particular kind, sort, or type, as with reference to form, appearance, or character.”
When you think about beer, what is it about style that really matters?
I’ve long extolled that style is way less important than flavor in first learning about beer. Flavor should be taught first, long before the style conversation gets off the ground. Listen to your own sensory system, not someone else’s.
Learning to name and identify flavors and aromas will get the beer enjoyer much farther along than having to learn style first. Yes, there’s most certainly a place for style. And people like to categorize things anyway, yet it should come much later.
When we learn to name flavors, we can really lean into our sipping, trying, sharing and asking. Learning what flavors appeal to us, which we would rather not partake of and still learn to appreciate, we become a smarter beer drinker. A savvier beer enthusiast. This is good for everyone in the beer equation.
Next week I’ll have the pleasure of being in Central Iowa to deliver a lively & educational talk, Beer Sense, courtesy of the Des Moines chapter of Barley’s Angels. I’ll be covering learning to smell and taste your beer, since it’s the very beginning in learning to enjoy beer for me. You can get details and register here – women & men are all welcome.
Beer is a lot like art: it’s personally subjective. Like what you like. Look at everything, taste everything – you can only say you don’t like something after you’ve tried it. If you’ve not had a particular beer in at least two months and you think you don’t like it, try it again. Beers within the same style can taste remarkably different too to taste around. Give all beer a fair shake to please you.
While some trends are short-lived, certain trends never go out of style. Beer styles proper aside, find your own style. I hope it’s an Open Minded style, welcoming to all ideas of what beer can be and is the world over.
See you next week!