How To Do A Beer Tasting At Home

What You Look For In a Beer

How to do a virtual beer tasting

YMC is hosting a Virtual Beer Tasting on Saturday, May 9th at 9pm! 

There are so many amazing beers available these days that the variety of choices can be dizzying. While we are all homebound, we can hone appreciation for beer with a beer tasting. It’s simple to do and the best part is that you can do it with the 'of age' people you are currently quarantining with or virtually with friends online. 

Here are some steps to get you started:

Choose the beers you’d like to taste. Do you want to do a flight of three different IPAs from different breweries? Or would you like to try three or four different beer styles side by side to really notice their differences? Or perhaps you want to do a seasonal flight of spring beers like Bock or Belgian Witbiers

Once you’ve bought and refrigerated your beers, get clean glasses ready. You might also want a pen and paper for notes. It helps to have the same style glass but it’s not necessary. I find that wine glasses work very well. 

Pro Tip: Only pour your first beer. Don’t pour all the beers at once, or the last one will be sad by the time you get to it.

Now, here are your tasting steps:

1) Look at the beer: What colour is it? What does that tell you about the malt used to brew it, what does that make you think it will taste like? What is the head like? Big and fluffy, thin and loose? Is there lots of carbonation? 

2) Smell the beer. What do you smell? This is where you can throw out your thoughts and discuss what the main aromas are. Contemplate whether the smells are more about the malt, i.e. nuts, coffee, caramel or about the hops, aromas such as pine, citrus, green tea. 

3) Now for the best part, take a sip: Allow it to coat the inside of your mouth before swallowing. Now think about the flavours in your mouth, you want to also acknowledge tactile sensations such as the acerbic bite of bitterness from hops or dark roasted malt, or the warmth of high alcohol. 

Once you have tasted and discussed the first beer you can continue on to the second. One of the objectives of doing a tasting is to learn about different beer characteristics, so it’s handy to compare beers against each other to make their traits more identifiable. But the biggest objective of tasting beer is to share it with friends and have fun! Stay safe, we’re all in this together.

Photo by Sarah Pflug from Burst


Tonia Wilson is a certified beer and wine sommelier and chef. She is a regular contributor to the LCBO's Food & Drink magazine and the author of the book Beer At My Table. Tonia spent many years working in Europe as Head Chef at Canadian Embassies in Rome and Brussels. She is certified with the Associazione Italiana Sommelier and is a Prud'homme Beer Sommelier. She recently launched her company BRÜ Mustard, which creates mustards inspired by beer. For more information on her services please visit and