Your basic guide to picking the right beer
That look on someone's face when they are staring at the draft list and the options seem overwhelming. We love to assist our awesome customers and help them find the right beer for their thirsty needs. Here is a little peak into how we do that as well as a way for you to learn about how to spot your style when checking out beer selections.
First things first know your styles. Start reading the labels of your beers and identifying what style categories fit your fancy. Did you know that there are major differences between light and dark beers as well as more subtle ones within them? Two beers may have the exact same coloring and clarity but one is a crisp and light lager and the other a hop bomb IPA. Knowing what general styles your taste buds prefer is the first step in searching a menu for the beers you dig. Get familiar with beers styles using the BJCP guidelines (the Beer Judge Certification Program is recognized as one of the leading and official sources for beer styles).
Secondly, know some basic beer terminology. This will help you quickly pick out beers that either do or do not fit within you desired range. Here are two you need to know:
1. IBU (International Bitterness Unit) very basically how hoppy (aka bitter) the beer is. A well made beer may have a medium to high IBU but be balanced by the malt so you have to take this with a little grain of salt. In general though the higher the IBU the more bitterness you will get.
2. ABV (alcohol by volume) how much alcohol is in the beer. The range for an average ABV beer is between 4-7%. Session or low strength beers will come in under the 4% mark and high gravity (aka "boozy") beers will clock in anywhere past 7%. A side note; if you see the word imperial to describe a beer it will be in the higher alcohol percent range.
We also recommend keeping track through an app like Untapped, notes on your phone or the old school pen and paper method as a way to record what beers you like and don't like. Also don't be afraid to go out of your comfort zone every once in a while. New styles emerge from time to time and, as you further develop your pallet, beers that may not have appealed to you before might now.
Explore your sense, get to know your beers and have a blast exploring all the unique and delicious brews out there!