5 Beerble-approved tips when ordering at a craft beer bar
By: Ng U-Sern and Mili Lim
ESTIMATED READING TIME: 1 minute
“If you’ve walked into any of the craft beer outlets lately and have been confused by the sheer number of different beers, brands and beer styles, don’t fret – you are not alone.”
It is not unusual for a Malaysian to walk into a beer bar with a predisposition to order a commercialised ‘big beer’ brand whether it be Carlsberg, Heineken, Guinness or others.
One may attribute the big brewers’ dominating brand awareness to, inter alia, the mass accessibility of their beers, big budgeted marketing campaigns, and the limit to issuances of brewing licences in Malaysia.
With the rise of craft beer in Malaysia, however, ordering beer is now more exciting with the wide variety of unique beers available.
Don’t get overwhelmed by choice at a craft beer bar with 5 Beerble-approved tips:
1. REFRAME THE WAY YOU ASK THE BEER-ISTA FOR A RECOMMENDATION
Beer-istas can’t read minds. It’s difficult to recommend a beer without first knowing your taste preference. Instead of only asking,”What beers would you recommend?”, try reframing your question:
(i) “I like something [insert taste profile – fruity / chocolatey / etc]. What selection of beers do you have that fits that?”
(ii) “What are your new beers this week?”
(iii) “I’m new to craft beer. What’s a good starter beer?”
2. SAMPLE, IF POSSIBLE
Some craft beer bars let you sample their beers on tap before buying!
3. SOME BASIC TASTING TERMS AND BEER STYLES
Clean, bready, crisp: Lager
Fruity/floral, aromatic, hoppy: IPA, Pale Ale
Malty sweetness, citrusy, tangy: Wheat Beer, White Ale
Malty sweetness, caramel notes: Amber Ale, Brown Ale
Chocolatey, coffeeish, robust: Stout, Porter
Acidic, sour, fruity, complex: Sour Ales
Smokey, malty, toasty: Rauchbier
4. BEER STYLES ARE A GOOD INITIAL INDICATOR OF WHAT TO EXPECT, BUT THEY ARE PRETTY SUBJECTIVE
Alvin Lim, one of five cousins who own Taps Beer Bar, draws an analogy:
“There are 2 ‘nasi lemak’ stalls beside each other. I may prefer the ‘sambal’ from the left stall because its more spicy whereas you may prefer the ‘sambal’ from the right stall because its spicy and sweet. Both fall in the same food category but personal preference is subjective. Similarly, I may prefer this Stout over that Stout.”
Takeaway: Use beer styles as general indicators of what beer you may like, but don’t do it at the expense of not exploring other styles.
5. CRAFT BEER: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY
Be unafraid to explore something new. Unsure where to start? Refer to Point number 1.