How to Choose the Right Beer | Marty Nachel | Skillshare

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How to Choose the Right Beer

teacher avatar Marty Nachel, Beer Me

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

11 Lessons (22m)
    • 1. How to Choose the Right Beer Introduction

    • 2. Beer Flavor Groupings

    • 3. Crisp and Clean

    • 4. Malty and Sweet

    • 5. Dark and Roasty

    • 6. Hoppy and Bitter

    • 7. Fruity and Spicy

    • 8. Sour Tart and Funky

    • 9. Smoky

    • 10. Dry and Light Bodied

    • 11. Spirituous

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About This Class

This class is designed to help students make informed choices as beer consumers.  Ultimately, it helps to answer the question: “Which beer should I drink?”

This is done by simplifying the choices by way of unique Beer Flavor Groupings.  These groupings are a way of organizing the various beer styles according to their character commonalities.

This course is taught by professional beer judge, beer educator and the author of "Beer for Dummies" and "Homebrewing for Dummies", Marty Nachel

Meet Your Teacher

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Marty Nachel

Beer Me


* Author, "Beer for Dummies", "Homebrewing for Dummies"

* Beer Education Director for Tapville Social 

* Advisory Board member and adjunct instructor, College of DuPage (IL) "Business of Craft Beer" certificate program

* Professional International Beer Judge- Great American Beer Festival, World Beer Cup, Festival of Barrel Aged Beers, Copa Cerveza de Americas 

* Draught Master and former trainer for the Heineken brand



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1. How to Choose the Right Beer Introduction: welcome to how to choose the right beer. I'll be your instructor for this course. My name is Marty Natural. I've been a beer educator for over 20 years. I've been a Beard judge for over 30 years, and I'm the author of Beer for Dummies and Home Brewing for Dummies. This class is designed to help students make informed choices as beer consumers. Ultimately, it helps to answer the question. Which beer should I drink for the class project? This class, designed to encourage students to work outside the comfort zone. Students should buy and taste a least one beer style within each beer flavored group and you'll see of beer flavor groups in an upcoming side. They should note their likes and dislikes for each beer style tasted. And based on these observations, students should identify their most favorite beer flavor groups a couple of things to consider as you're going through this course. First of all, beer selection is subjective and personal. This is all about you. This is This is a hedonic decision. You ask yourself, Does this product bring me pleasure? You know what you like for reasons you understand. So what other people like or what other people think should not affect your decisions. And keep in mind that there are well over 100 different beer styles in the world, so there's no reason to settle on one or two. There's a whole myriad of choices to be made, including, uh, some of the things that you should consider our time, place and occasion the time of day. Are we talking about A. Is that the middle of the day? And you want something light and refreshing and low in alcohol because you have many hours yet to go? Or is this something later in the evening, where a nightcap might serve perfectly Day of the week? Is this a Monday or Tuesday? You're still coming out of the weekend or is it already the weekend? It's a Friday night or a Saturday night, and you just want to let go Season of the year. This is it's important to understand that a lot of breweries they will produce and release beer styles based on the season. So the beers you see on the store shelf or available on tap in winter are gonna look considerably different than what you're going to see. in this summer. And as far as occasions go, is this formal or casual? Are we talking about a five course sit down dinner? Or is this just a backyard barbecue? And lastly, kind of I dovetailing with the last concept? Are we gonna be doing food pairing? Is this all about matching the beers you choose with the foods that are going to be served also? 2. Beer Flavor Groupings: This next section, called beer flavor groupings is really the heart of this whole course. If you aren't able to ah, retain a lot of the information in the later part of the course, as long as you could retain this information, this is what's most important there. As I mentioned before, there are well over 100 different beer styles in the world. And rather than go through all 100 of them, suggesting that you like them or don't like them based on your preferences, what I've done is I've gone ahead and broken down a lot of the beer styles into these nine beer flavor grouping. So it's it's been simplified for you, and we're going to be going through each one of these beer flavor grouping one at a time. One thing you need to note, however, is that some beer styles are crossovers. They can fit in more than one category, and I'll give you a for instance, quarter. That's one particular style that's it's going to show up in the dark and roasty category, but it can also show up in the smoky category. So be aware that there are a number of beers, beer styles that can end up in more than one category 3. Crisp and Clean: in this category, we're going to take a look at beers that would be considered crisp and clean. Before we do that. Let's understand what the characteristics of a crisp and clean beer might be. Typically crisp and clean beers are pale colored. Dark beers don't really lend themselves very well to being crisp. Chris MacLean beers would be dry ish, meaning they're less sweet than your average beer. They tend to be more highly carbonated and Effervescence. Thus, they are considered thirst quenching. They're less viscous because they contain less residual sugar. And related to that, they're medium low alcohol content, usually 6% or less. So which beer styles might be considered? Good examples of Chrisman clean? Well, we have American pale lager, most of those beers that are produced by Budweiser, Miller and Coors, and so on. American wheat. Ailes would fit this category. German coal steer, pilsener and pills, and there is a slight difference there. Some beers are considered Pilsners. That, based on the check style Czechoslovakian style of that beer and then pills, is very strictly German. German version of that style menders dirt under which is also German 4. Malty and Sweet: in this category. We're gonna take a look at beers that are considered multi and sweet, the characteristics of a beer, beers that are multi and sweet. These air considered not bitter or dry, obviously, and a taste of Malta. Malta Grain is the most obvious flavor characteristic of these beers. Want itself is naturally sweet, but Monk can also have a uh, they can also taste dry, and these beers are typically more viscous and their rich on the palate simply because they have more residual sugar in them. And these may also exhibit specialty grain complexity because of the various grains that are used to make the beers. So these are the beers that would be considered good examples of the style, starting with cream ale exes merits in otherwise notice. Octoberfest beers Munich Hellis Doku These are both from the very, um, Buck and all of its derivatives. Bock Beer is a very multi rich beer and coursers uh, my Bach and Hella stock and apple back All of those Vienna is a very specific beer style from Austria. I've beer is from Germany. Romney hail from England, British Porter, obviously from Britain Scotch and Scottish Ailes both from Scotland. The difference here is simply that Scottish ales are a little bit lighter and body and alcohol content. Scotch ales tend to be a little bit richer and more viscous with the higher alcohol content , but both of them are definitely mull forward beer styles, milk stout, these air, any stouts that they might also be called cream Start. By the way, um, that references the fact that they're made with black toast, which is a milk sugar, which, of course, lends itself to being sweet. Belgian double is a multi sweet Bierce town bites and beer from Germany is typically on the sweet side, with beer from Belgium. Also sweets and, of course, any beer made by a craft brewer that they referred to as being a milkshake beer. This also, they make these also using lack toes, which is that that milk sugar that I mentioned just a minute ago? It's important to consider this side note, by the way, that Malkin sweet beers are the easiest to pair with food. So if your intention is to do a beard who pairing take a close look at all the Mulkey and sweet beer styles because these are the ones that are gonna be very easy to work with. And by the way, if you like cooking with beer, multi and sweet beers also the best for cooking purposes as well. Consider that when you're cooking with any liquid, it has a tendency to reduce, and any time you have a reduction, it intensifies the main flavors of that beer. So let's say phrases have you were working with a bitter beer or an acidic beer? That would be the main flavor that would be transferred to your whatever it is you're cooking. Mulkey and sweet beers, on the other hand, there going to be reduced to a more intense multi nous or a richer sweetness. 5. Dark and Roasty: in this category, we're going to focus on dark and roasty beers the characteristics for those beers. They would be brown toe black in color. They would exhibit a roasty character. It might have a flavor reminiscent of coffee. It may have a flavor reminiscent of Baker's chocolate, meaning that there's a chocolate flavor, but there's no sweetness attached to it, and it may be slightly bitter and astringent due to the darker roasted malts used to make that beer. These air some beer styles, it might be considered good examples of dark and roasty. First is British Mild Show Starts dear, which is a German black beer beauty. Duncan again from Bavaria. Robust order, which is typically an Americanized version of Porter Baltic Porter stouts. There are various stout styles out there, and most of them would fit into the dark and roasty category. And lastly, we have black I P A. 6. Hoppy and Bitter: in this category, we're going to focus on hoppy and bitter beers. Characteristics of this style would be. They exhibit the character of hops we're talking about primarily in the aroma and flavor. We're going to be bitter tasting at the finish. Obviously, they're gonna be somewhat astringent based on how it tastes. That bettering is these beers air typically not multi or sweet. The focus is on the hops, and the beer may have Erez. Any must feel due to the hop presence in the beer beer style. Examples that would be considered happy and bitter would be German pills, pale ale, India pale ale and up beer, especially the richer one known as sticker. 7. Fruity and Spicy: this category is all about Rudy and spicy beers. Now, when we talk about fruity and spicy beers, we're talking about beers that have aromas or flavours of various fruits. Pay attention here. Fruitiness can be from added fruit, or it can be from the combination of baseball Tonight. Address that in just a second. Fruitiness can also be the result of yeast and fermentation, So let's break this down. If a brewer bruise a food beer, he adds whatever fruit he intends to imbue that beer with, However, certain beer styles may get their route character simply from the combination of bait Smaltz that were used and I give you one. For instance, the Belgian quadruple style is known to exhibit uh, flavours of plum and stone fruit, and it may also have dates and raisins, that sort of thing. But that doesn't mean that the brewer added any one of those fruits. It's usually the combination of the basement used to make that here. Now, fruitiness can also be the result of yeast and fermentation. We know that certain yeasts due to fermentation they will actually create fruit flavors in the beer now spiciness. That means having the aromas or flavours of various spices. And in certain situations and certain beer styles. Brewers will add specific spices to the beer, but spiciness can also be the result of yeast and fermentation. So here are some examples of beers that are either Rudy and or spicy, starting with vice and beer. One of the major characteristics of this beers that it has a banana character. I so am, alas, it. Eight. No bananas are added to the beer to get it that way. It's a matter of the yeast that's used to prevent that beer that naturally creates that banana character in wheat beer. Brewers will add coriander and orange peel, so you see that there's a spice and some Citrus. There could be a little bit Rudy and a little bit spicy together. Belden triple. That's a beer that sometimes exhibits a banana character much like fights and beer. It can also be somewhat spicy due to the Belgian yeasts that are used to ferment it. Rogan beer is made with riding that literally translates from German as rye Beer, Now rye as a grain itself, has a specific spiciness to it. So all Rogan bears or rye beers tend to be automatically spicy. Fruit lum Bix, Now lambic, is a spontaneously fermented beer from Belgium, but many lumber producers will add various fruits to them. You Confined Creek, which is cherry you confined poem, which is apple from Wise, which is raspberry. Cassie switches black current and pesh, which is peach. So these are LA Mix, to which specific groups have been added. Cezanne is a style that can be somewhat spicy. It's known to be peppery based on the use that used to create it. A New England I P. A. This is a relatively new beer style that's considered juicy or hazy. It mimics various Citrus fruits based on the hops that are used in the use of you and then shanties, and rather, is This is a little bit off the beaten path. Shanties are British. Rattlers are German, but it's basically a mixture of a base beer with some kind of proof flavor. 8. Sour Tart and Funky: in this category, we're going to take a look at sour tart and funky beers. So this is how we might describe these. They have an acidic or an acetic flavor at various levels of intensity. And that's important to remember, because when I show you these beer styles, some of them are going to be on the very lightly acidic end of the scale, and some of them are going to be on the more intense side of the scale. Now Funky refers to Odd Earth is somewhat bordering on unpleasant aromas and flavors. When attributed toe wild yeast or beer friendly bacteria, funkiness can actually add depth and complexity to a beer when attributed to spoilage. Bacteria. Funkiness is not always a welcome character in beer, so these are some beer styles that are either sour tart and or funky, starting with Go Za, which is a beer style from Germany. This is rather lightly acidic. It's on the tart side for a little advice from Germany. This can be somewhat sour. Next in Heiner is a beer that is lightly sours well similar to goes on. Would Bruin otherwise noticed Flanders Brown Ale. This can be straight up Sour Flanders Red ale from Belgium can be quite sour and can actually run towards the acetic end of the spectrum. Little vinegary number is quite sour, is one of the most sour beers in the world, and Goose A, which is a blend of different years of lambic, is much the same. Farmhouse ales is often used as kind of a catch all four beers that are considered a little , um, a little funky. Truthfully, though, there are only two farm true farmhouse ales in the world. One is Cezanne, which we've already covered, and the other one is beard the guard. So watch for those when you're looking at menus and you see farmhouse ale Brett Veer. This stands for any beer that is fermented and or aged with Brattan. Oh my sees yeast, which is considered a wild used. This will give beers that trademark funkiness, and very often you'll see wild beer on a menu or or on a website and the wild in quotations . That refers to the fact that wild yeasts and or bacterias may have been used to create these beer styles, and they will likely be hi run the gamut from start to sour to acetic and be funky at the same time. 9. Smoky: in this category. We're going to take a look a certain beers that exhibit smokiness Now when we talk about smoke characteristics and beer and means having aromas or flavours that are reminiscent of smoke from the use of highly roasted grains. There's also beers that have distinctly smoky Roman flavor due to the use of smoked months . Now Francis Rock Beer from Germany. This is a beer style that is brewed with the use of months that have been smoked over open fire, so it's intended to have the intense smokiness. Roginsky A is another style. That's okay, Silly Noon is great, sir, and whether you call it one of the other, it's basically a, uh, a wheat beer that is also smoked, usually with Oakwood. So it's got a distinctly okey character to it, and then a lot of breweries produce what they call a smoked porter. But smoking beers is not limited to any particular style. Any other base beer cell can be smoked if the brewer so choose to do that. Now, other beer styles that are not specifically smoke but may exhibit smokiness are various stouts because of the use of the dark roasted grains Occasionally you might be able to pick out a little bit of smokiness and beer. Likewise, for Schwartz beer, which is the German black beer and black eye pH again due to the use of highly killed months, they may give off what is experienced as a smokiness. 10. Dry and Light Bodied: in this category, we're going to take a look at dry and light bodied beer, so basically dry means lacking sweetness. It has low residual sugar content, and these are typically low calorie beers. They're not a lot of different beer styles out there, but among them you'll see Brute I P. A. And Brute is a term that's been borrowed from wines and champagnes. That typically means dry patters beer, which is made in Belgium. This literally means Father's beer. This is something that the Trappist monks used to make. It's known as table beer simply because this was a a beer, low calorie, low alcohol beer that they would consume throughout the day. And some brewers still produce that. And then, of course, are the many, many different, low calorie beers out there made by many of the big brewers throughout the country. 11. Spirituous: in this last category, We're gonna take a look at what we call spiritualist beers. What exactly does that mean? Well, we're talking about beers with higher alcohol content, typically 9% or more, and these beers are very warming. Usually, Wendy, alcohol content gets up beyond 7%. 89 and above. You can feel the warming in the throat, so here are some beer styles. It would be considered good warmers, Russian imperial stout, Imperial I, P. A. Or any other base style that has been imperial ized. That simply means that the beer has been brewed to a higher gravity, which the sugars are converted over to alcohol. So you're seeing elevated A BV zero alcohol contents. He styles, known as barleywine and wheat wine, are usually up in the 10 to 12% range. Old ale usually checks in at 9 to 10%. Belgian triple is kind of on the edge. They're usually about 9% or so. Belgian quads. Those check in that starting at 90 may go up to, but well or more, Scotch Ale is like a triple in that it usually tips the scale about 9% or so and ice. Bach is one of the heavy hitters, usually checking in at 12 14%. They're more