A well-balanced and varied craft beer menu offers a wide range of flavors and beer profiles for both beginners and veteran craft-beer connoisseurs alike. If you are not well-versed in some of the terms and language that brewers use to name and classify their beers, then a craft beer menu can also seem overwhelming at a first glance. You may be tempted to stick with what you know, but it is well worth branching out to find a new favorite or appreciate a local brewery. Here are five tips for navigating a craft beer menu successfully.
- It’s all in the name. A craft beer menu will often follow traditional naming practices. Scottish sounding names will typically offer a malty beer while a Belgian Golden Strong Ale is hazy, golden, and strong.
- Look at price, pour size and alcohol content. These can indicate the style of the beer. Quite often, a beer with a larger alcohol content is connected to a higher price and smaller pour size. A lighter style with a larger pour will be priced lower.
- Order a flight to sample varieties. Whether you are new to craft beer or looking to try something new, a flight will include four or five short pours so you can get a feel for different flavors. Start with something light like a lager and build up to stronger brews.
- Try seasonal beers. A lighter style is refreshing during the summer while a dark stout suits the colder temperatures. Keep an eye out for seasonal specials and try a craft beer that is meant to be enjoyed during a particular time of year.
- Ask for recommendations. Have a conversation with the bartender and let them know what kind of flavors you enjoy. They will be able to point you toward something off the craft beer menu that you’ll love.
Do not be afraid to ask questions, do research and step out of your comfort zone to try something new off the craft beer menu. It could very well be your next favorite brew.