Wel­come to ‘beer rev­er­ence time’

Som­me­lier-like knowl­edge ap­plies to suds

Calgary Herald - Calgary Herald New Condos - - Week­end Life - IRENE SEIBER­LING

Do we need a class on how to drink beer?

Ap­par­ently, yes. But not a Homer Simp­son type of les­son. There’s an art to beer drink­ing, Mike Tate and Dar­rel Hube­lit say.

“The wine in­dus­try has done it for years — with the right glass for whites, for reds. But the beer in­dus­try has re­ally been stag­nant in terms of ro­manc­ing their prod­uct,” said Tate, a Cicerone-cer­ti­fied beer server, which he said is con­sid­ered the beer ver­sion of a wine som­me­lier.

Wel­come to “beer rev­er­ence time.”

“We’re educating North Amer­i­cans on the proper way to pour and serve beer. Be­cause Euro­peans have it down pat,” he said.

“I like to make sure my beer­drink­ing ex­pe­ri­ence is en­hanced,” said Tate, who worked for Mol­son Coors Canada for more than a decade. “I’m a beer geek.”

Hube­lit has more than 25 years of ex­pe­ri­ence in the hos­pi­tal­ity and al­co­holic bev­er­age in­dus­try. He’s com­pleted nu­mer­ous wine and beer cour­ses, and fa­cil­i­tated both wine and beer tast­ing events.

“Peo­ple are al­ways amazed at the dif­fer­ence the glass makes,” Hube­lit said. “Beer is a fun prod­uct. And now with so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity, we’re not drink­ing vol­ume; we’re drink­ing for qual­ity. And these glasses are the per­fect tools for get­ting the most out of your beers.”

Tate and Hube­lit com­bined their ex­per­tise to share the fol­low­ing beer-drink­ing point­ers:

The shape of the beer glass af­fects the mouth’s feel and taste.

Sim­i­lar to va­ri­etal-spe­cific wine glasses, there are beer glasses de­vel­oped to sup­port the char­ac­ter­is­tics of spe­cific beer styles. For ex­am­ple, in its tast­ing kit, Spiege­lau fea­tures four beer glasses — one for a lager, a wheat beer and an In­dia pale ale, plus a beer tulip.

“Each ves­sel is de­signed to get the ex­act right flavour, sense of smell, into your mouth,” Tate said.

Hube­lit de­scribed them as “per­for­mance glasses. These are tools for drink­ing beer.”

Use a “beer clean” not a “near clean” glass.

“That will re­ally af­fect the over­all taste profile of the beer,” Tate said.

A beer glass should be prop­erly scrubbed to re­move all film and odour, any grease from the dish­washer, or residue from us­ing too much de­ter­gent. Pour­ing beer into a glass coated with a film re­sults in the C02 be­ing re­leased from the beer “and you’ll get ba­si­cally ap­ple juice, and no flavour and aroma,” he said. “So it takes away from the beauty of the beer.” Have a ded­i­cated beer glass. Don’t mix them with other things, such as milk or pop prod­ucts.

“Be­cause the sug­ary film from pop prod­ucts will stick on the beer in­side the glass, and it will take away from the flavour,” Tate said. “The nose will pick up those flavours in­stead of the right flavours from the beer.”

When drink­ing beer, con­sider its ap­pear­ance, aroma and taste.

“There’s no right or wrong an­swer. We all taste dif­fer­ently; we all smell dif­fer­ently,” Tate said.

A clas­sic pub beer glass — re­ferred to as a joker glass at beer glass tast­ing classes — is meant for vol­ume, not to hold in aroma. It’s made of thicker glass and has a rolled rim, both of which af­fect how a beer is per­ceived.

Keep the head! Flavour and aroma are lost if the head is not re­tained on the beer.

It’s a com­mon mis­take at bars, Hube­lit said. Servers will re­move the head so they can fill the glass all the way.

“The brew­mas­ter de­signed the head to keep the flavour,” Tate said. “So don’t think you’re get­ting (short­changed) at the bar if your glass is not full of beer.”

The best way to serve beer is from a glass, not drink­ing it from the bot­tle.

The open­ing at the top of a beer bot­tle is not big enough to re­lease the beer’s full spec­trum of flavours and de­liver them to the nose and mouth.

“If you drink beer from the bot­tle, you are in­gest­ing all the CO2 in the bot­tle. That’s what makes you feel bloated,” Tate said.

Pho­tos: Bryan Schlosser/Post­media News

Mas­ter class stu­dents in Regina check the clar­ity of beer glasses, which is crit­i­cal to get­ting all the flavour of the brew

Mike Tate, left, and Dar­rel Hube­lit can help you get the best out of your brew.

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