Thursday, January 30, 2014

10 Tips for Better Craft Beer Videos

For our last how to guide we're taking a look at craft beer videos. Our marketing team of Ben and Cambria have watched videos aplenty and taken some notes on things we saw that were working for the better out there. Here are Benbria's top tips for those of you looking to get some facetime out there.

Keep it short

Around two minutes should be plenty of time to say what you need to say before losing people's attention.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

10 Steps to Better Beer Photography

Now that you've perfected your beer writing skills, you want to perfect your visual storytelling skills too, right? We've seen lots of great content out there, and it's not only from our fans, but our own staff too! Did you know that in addition to our own resident photographer Cambria, Brian from the Tasting Room and Colin from our packaging team also dabble in some stellar photography? We've pooled together our favorite tips and tricks for making the most of your photography, whether it's shot with your phone for social media or with a "real" camera.

On to number 1 ...

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

10 Steps to Even Better Beer Blogging

Since you've become a sensory pro, it might be time to refocus your writing skills, or think about starting your own beer-related blog. We've seen some great young and older blogs out there, and done a fair amount of blogging ourselves. We've compiled 10 expert tips on how to strengthen your beer writing skills, whether you're doing beer reviews, tastings, news, or just blogging for fun.

Onward to Number 1.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Sensory School: How To Have Your Own Beer Tasting

Whether you're having a tasting to learn about beer, figure out what to brew next, or just to have fun, there are some simple tips that can make you look like you really are a beer pro if you are the host (or simply make it easier to enjoy the experience and just focus on the beer). has already done the legwork in putting together some awesomely thorough at-home tasting guides and handy-dandy beer placemats. Though we won't reinvent the wheel, we recommend reading their guide before having a tasting, then using the following pointers when it comes to having a tasting with OUR beers.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Sensory School: Taste Perception and Sound

There are many factors that can affect your sensory evaluation of a beer. One of them is oft overlooked when tasting beer, but it might be affecting you more than you think. Our CFO/COO Carl put his ear to the ground to explore how sound can enhance or detract from your sensory experience.

The Pils Are Alive, With The Sound Of Music ...

Taste. Touch. Sight. Smell. Drinking beer is an experience of the senses. The Beer Judge Certification Program style guidelines describe each of the dozens of styles and sub-styles in terms of aroma, appearance, flavor, and mouthfeel. Beer reviews on the popular forums similarly break their analyses down to categories of A(pperance), S(mell), T(aste), M(outhfeel), and O(verall), or some variation. All the senses are covered, except one ... Welcome to the sensory blog entry on the sound of beer.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Sensory School: The Path to Becoming a Beer Judge

Once you have a full understanding of how to taste beer, you might want to take your knowledge a bit further ... far enough to become a beer judge! To guide you through that process one of our brewers, who just so happens to also be one of our resident BJCP judges, has some tips on how to reach that goal.

So you would like to be a beer judge? Free beer and all that is asked for in return is some feedback on the beverage! We must first acquire the necessary knowledge and practice our sensory evaluation skills and corresponding vocabulary. How do we get started on this sensory evaluation filled adventure? What separates a beer judge from the random craft beer geek at the tasting room?

Friday, January 10, 2014

Sensory School: Time to Taste

On your path to sensory enlightenment you've learned how much aroma matters in the perception of flavor, but the other half of the experience comes from taste (the remainder of sensory that starts in your mouth).

The human tongue can detect five different tastes, and the rest of the flavor experience comes from your nose. Once beer enters your mouth, you'll perceive the tastes of sweet, salty, bitter, sour, and umami on your tongue. When tasting a beer, it's important to let it really cover all parts of your tongue, because as you'll see in the following (and kind of gross) diagram, those taste buds are all over the place ... as are gustatory hairs. Eeeeew.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Sensory School: All Hail Aroma

We're all familiar with what it's like to eat something when you have a stuffy nose -- you can't really get much flavor out of anything, and the joy is pretty much taken out of any meal. Likewise, when you're diving into a decadent meal at a fancypants restaurant and someone walks by doused in bad cologne, your appetizer suddenly seems to take on notes of locker room.

This is because the full flavor of what we consume is a combination of taste (what we sense in our mouth) and aroma (what we detect with our nose). If you've never tried eating with your nose plugged, take a minute, step away from the computer, pour yourself a flavorful craft beer, and try doing it.

To appreciate and understand the importance of aroma in your sensory experience of beer, we've placed four "homework" items throughout this post that will help you appreciate the ingredients, presentation, and descriptors for all things beer aroma.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Sensory School: The Eye of the Beer-holder

As much as we know looks aren't everything, when it comes to beer the first sensory experience you'll enjoy is the appearance of your pour. There are several visuals that come into play before you even let a beer approach your palate, and they can be surprisingly simple but powerful details.

Color, clarity, head character, the play of light, the shape of glassware, the cleanliness of a pour, the haze of yeast, the color of foam, the dance of those precious little baby carbonation bubbles that float through your beer -- these are just some of the elements that stimulate our senses before even touching a beer. There's a surprising amount of thought that has gone behind the appearance of each and every craft beer you've ever enjoyed, and taking a minute to slow down and understand those visual stimulants might improve your beer drinking enjoyment.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Sensory School: We Need Words

The limits of my language mean the limits of my world. - Ludvig Wittgenstein

Language is a much debated subject in modern philosophies. It isn’t typically accepted as a truth anymore, but linguistic determinism would argue that our knowledge and thought is actually limited by our words and our cultural dialects; that we literally can not know things if we don’t have the language to talk about it.

The most commonly noted example is that the Eskimo-Aleut language has over 50 different words for “snow”. What is inferred from this is that when most of us look outside on a winter day and see snow, the people who are raised in the Eskimo culture and learn these 50+ words don’t actually see “snow”, they see a particular type of snow that the rest of us don’t have a word for and therefor don’t differentiate and theoretically don’t know exist.