Botanist Reading

Beer tasting is set to become more popular than wine tasting across the UK as 2017 sees breweries across the country grow to more than 1,700, and beer production increasee by 16% year on year.

The New World Trading Company, which offers beer tastings for its 80 different beers and ales, reports a dramatic increase in interest of 50% over the last year, with thousands of drinkers wanting to become beer gurus across all its national pubs including The Botanist and The Trading House. ,

Kieran Hartley, beer guru for the New World Trading Company, said: “In the last couple of years, you’ll have noticed that beer is becoming an increasingly serious subject. Whilst wine has taken all the glory as the connoisseur’s drink of choice, in recent years … this injustice towards beer has slowly unravelled and even the common drinker cannot ignore the huge change in how beer is talked about, served and enjoyed.

“Beer tastings are an increasingly popular choice. With a wide selection of beers, many outlets are now offering a variety of beer tasting events where people of any background can come and learn about beer as a crash course, or take an in-depth peek into the vast depths of the beer world.”

The popularity of beer tasting is due to the variety of food it can be paired with based on the sweet, sour, savoury and bitter flavours. Spicy notes in food can be calmed by wheat beers, so if you can’t handle the heat, perhaps reach for an Erdinger or Hoegaarden the next time you have a jalfrezi.

Beers with a big hop profile can actually increase our perception of spice, so if you are more of a daredevil, a bold IPA may be more suited to that spicy Mexican dish. Some are less based on science, and work just because they have always worked. It is believed that stout and oysters were the first food and drink to be paired together, while cheese and beer is a classic combination.

Cheese and beer tasting combinations

• Soft chevre goes well with the floral notes of a German hefeweizen
• Cheddar goes well with the sweet malt and balanced hop bitterness of a classic best bitter
• An aged Gouda needs dark flavours with a hint of sweetness, such as a dark doppelbock
• Blue cheese is usually very strong and needs something equally as strong to stand up to it, such as a bold IPA
• Wensleydale, a soft creamy cheese, will pair well with a sour ale