Beer 101: Tasting tips for beginners

There's only one rule.

The first rule of beer: There are no rules. Well, there is maybe one rule according to Kirk Coco, CEO of NOLA Brewing Company. Whether you’re a beer beginner or someone just ready to try something new, here are some tips that will get you in gear for a beer tasting.

Find a place that offers flights of beer.

You can try a whole lot of different beers this way. Flights are usually a lot of little beers, 4 or 6 ounce pours. And you taste a lot of different styles. Try to get a wide range, from hoppy to light-colored beers to some sour beers, which are becoming more popular. Each one of those has very distinct flavor profiles, very distinct balance and strength to them. Try all of these different styles and see which one fits your palate best.

Don’t start off too strong.

The one thing you probably don’t want to hit up right off the bat is to try any really hoppy beers like pale ales, IPAs or Imperial IPA. Those are really just distinct flavored beers. Most craft beer drinkers end up loving those more than anything but it’s a hard place to start because they do have a pretty bitter back end and they just have a lot of flavor right in your face right in the beginning.

Keep it smooth.

It might be good to start with very mild, dark beer like a brown al.e It’s light and it tastes kind of like an iced coffee so if you like iced coffee at the perfect fit. As you grow into it and you start tasting more and more beers. And you never know. The beer styles that you didn’t like 5 years ago as might be ones you end up loving.

Know what you’re drinking.

Some beers can be 8,9 or 10-percent alcohol. Some can be 3 or 4percent. Each beer can have a different effect on you so you need to know what your drinking before you try it.

Have fun!

So the wonderful thing about beer is that there is pretty much no rules. Beer drinkers, we like to let people do whatever they like to do. There’s only one rule: don’t spit it out. This isn’t a wine tasting. If you like the beer, you drink the beer.

NOLA Brewing Company offers free brewery tours Fridays from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturdays from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Tour the facility while learning about the process of making beer. During the tour on Fridays, the brewery also gives out tokens for free beer.

Also, make sure you keep these tips on hand: