Beer is one of the most widely consumed alcoholic beverages in the world. It can range in taste from a mouth-puckering sourness to a rich malty sweetness and hints of dark fruits or even chocolate. There are several types of beer and they can be made with many ingredients including spices, fruits, hops and vegetables.
At its most basic, beer is made with four ingredients: water, malt (barley or other grains like wheat or oats), hop flowers and yeast. The water is used to create sugar which the yeast will convert into alcohol. Different types of grain malt will provide different flavors and aromas. Hops are used to add bitterness and balance the sweetness of the malt. Other flavors can be added during the brewing process or after fermentation to enhance the flavor of the beer. Examples of these include floral or herbal notes (like tea), citrus (like lemons or oranges), coffee, nuts and chocolate.
To appreciate the flavor of a beer, start by taking a sip and swirl it in your mouth to experience the complex flavors that a quality beer can offer. Take note of the intensity of the flavors, how they interact and compare them to other flavours you have experienced before. Also note your general impressions of the beer, was it lively and well balanced or did it taste flat and stale? Then decide if you will have another or not. It is important to remember that beer has a lot of calories and so it should be enjoyed in moderation.