What Beer Styles to Have at A Beer Tasting

You have a place to throw the party, glasses to pour your beer into, wine keys to pop bottles, and food to pair them with. But what beers are you going to have at your party? Well there are a TON of beers to choose from and I mean a TON. Just like wine there are many styles of beer (twenty-three styles of beer, three styles of mead, and two styles of cider) and then there is the competition between each brewery to make the best of each style. That’s a lot of beer folks. So let’s address the styles you should have at your first party and where to take it as you go on.

You’re average beer drinker is accustomed to lagers and to make matters worse they are accustomed to the MBC that exists on the market (Miller, Bud, Coors). These are called Adjunct Lagers because they substitute barley malt for adjunct ingredients (corn or rice). MBC is not the beer you want at your party! However since this is your first beer tasting party someone should bring one and only one of these beers; just to make the rest of what your drinking truly stand out and prove a point.

So what beers do you bring if you aren’t bringing your average MBC?

The good stuff people – Craft Beer!

You want to bring Craft Beer from local breweries in your hometown or State, beer from Europe (England, Belgium, and France) and be sure to have a lot of styles covered.

Since this is your first party and you’ll have between 10 and 12 people and each person is bringing a bottle, you’ll want to make sure no styles are repeated; unless you’re having a party down the road where it’s an Indian Pales Ale or IPA party and everyone brings in different IPA’s from different breweries. But for now just be sure your styles are diverse, that way you cover more ground in the world of beer and open your palates to more flavors.

So what styles should you bring?

Cover the basics! You should bring pale ales, IPAs (Indian Pale Ales), stouts, lagers (pilsners, bocks, marzen, and kolschs), and wheats from American, English, and Belgium breweries. Belgium’s can focus on dubbels, tripels (in English – double and triples), and quadruples. A bier de garde from France is a great idea as are sour beers from either American or Belgium breweries. The idea is to have a wide range of beer to choose from that most people aren’t familiar with in order to expand ones palate and see what each other likes.

Now most of the best beer in the world comes in large format bottles; 750mls. This is the size of a wine bottle and since you’re throwing a beer party, just as you would a wine party, the larger the bottle the more beer that goes around. The ideal sizes you’re looking for are 750mls, 550mls, and 22oz bombers.

Most Belgium and English beer comes in 550 – 750mls. Some American breweries do 750’s but most stay around 22oz’s which are called Bombers. If you’re having a hard time finding large format beers, a 4 or a 6 pack of craft beer isn’t a bad way to go, think bottles before cans, but will seem less familiar to those accustomed to wine parties and large bottles.