Before you taste your beer, pause a moment to look at it. Taking in a beer’s appearance is part of the experience, and you can tell a lot from a beer just by looking. For example, if the foamy head doesn’t immediately dissipate, it often means the beer was crafted with quality ingredients.
Swirling the beer in its glass, or “agitating” it, pulls out scents and stimulates carbonation, allowing you to smell and taste some of the more subtle elements.
More than 80 percent of beer’s taste is due to its scent (the human sense of taste is closely tied to smell). To fully gauge the scent of a beer, smell the beer through your nose, then swirl again and inhale the scent through your mouth.
Take a sip, but don’t swallow right away. Let the beer roll around your mouth. If it was poured cold, which masks some of the beer’s flavor, the taste will change as it warms in your mouth. Letting the beer warm a bit after being poured also allows you to taste more of its true flavor.