Not everyone is fortunate enough to share my love of beer. Perhaps they had an unfortunate episode with beer when they were younger, or maybe they just haven’t yet found one they like.
When I first met my wife, she was adamant that she didn’t like the flavor of beer. Most of the IPAs my buddies and I were drinking would be far too hoppy for her and darker beers just didn’t appeal. Eventually, though, my beloved wife had to relent and give beer another try.
But, how to drink beer without tasting it? There are a few ways which we explore below. And then there’s the more adventurous method where you can train yourself or somebody else to enjoy beer.
If you are fed up with going to parties where beer seems to be the only choice (unless you want a coke or other sugary drink), you’re fed up with being the odd one out at the local bar, or just don’t know what beer you would like to drink, then read on. Who knows, you may even end up liking beer!
How To Overcome the Taste of Beer
There may be times when drinking beer doesn’t seem avoidable, perhaps at a bachelor or college party when you don’t want to be the only one standing in the corner with a glass of water. Or, maybe you like the feeling you get from drinking an alcoholic beverage.
A recent study in Chicago found that some people actually make beverage choices on the feeling or buzz it gives them rather than the taste.
Many people find the bitter taste of drinks like coffee or beer unpleasant but like the feeling it gives them.
Although it may be considered sacrilege by beer lovers, there are ways you can drink beer without the taste (to each their own) or at least reduce the flavor.
The Smell and Taste of Beer
Scientists estimate that almost 80% of the way we taste comes from our sense of smell.
From simply not breathing through your nose as you drink, to breathing out sharply before taking a sip, the fewer odors that can make it up your nose, the less you will taste of the beer.
Growing up, my little sister never really liked the taste of beer and still claims not to, although she can regularly be seen after work, knocking back a few bottles of beer.
As a scuba diver, she works in a resort where beer is relatively cheap, but spirits can be expensive. Start a night on the vodka and you can easily spend the day’s wages at the local bar in the same evening.
She claims the secret is drinking from the bottle. If beer is poured into a glass, it releases those wonderful hoppy aromas us craft beer drinkers love so much. But not everybody loves that beer smell, so by drinking from the bottle, you can avoid any unwanted aromas.
Drinking beer through a straw is another great way to reduce the amount of flavor you taste, as most of the aromas are released into the air when using a straw. (And no, drinking beer through a straw doesn’t get you drunk quicker – it’s a myth!)
A more extreme way of reducing the odor and the taste of beer as you drink it would be to plug your nose. This is pretty self-explanatory, but you could use either your fingers, a straw again, or even a piece of sticky tape.
Just make sure that however you plug your nose, the item doesn’t end up in it.
Rinsing Your Mouth With Water Between Beers
After taking a sip of beer, you could always have a small bottle of water handy to rinse the flavor out of your mouth – just try to avoid gulping back the water too.
Eat Something Just Before Drinking Beer
Eating some of your favorite foods before your next beer can also help to reduce the amount of flavor you taste. Hopefully, your taste buds will be more focused on the food you have just enjoyed and won’t pick up too much on the flavor of the beer.
Drink Colder Beer
Many beer drinkers agree that beer should be served cold. However, it’s also a well-known fact that when drinks are colder, they have reduced flavor. Instead, the drink can simply be more refreshing without the taste.
Adding ice to your beer would also significantly cool it down with the added bonus of watering down the flavor for those who don’t like the taste of beer so much.
Drink Your Beer Quicker
The less contact the beer has with your taste buds, the less of that beer flavor you will taste. However, this method will probably get you drunk more quickly and people may assume you are enjoying the beer so much that they keep offering you more, so be balanced about it.
Add Other Flavors to the Beer
Rather than drinking beer neat, you could add a sugary beverage like 7-up to your beer. The sweetness will balance the bitter flavor and make it more palatable.
Some people even add coke to their beer in a popular German drink called “diesel.”
Most commonly, lemonade is added to a beer to make a shandy in a 50:50 ratio, although just a dash of lemonade, known as a lager top in the UK, can also help mask the beer flavor without being too sweet.
In Europe, especially France, grenadine is often added to beer, which gives it not just a more appealing color (we also taste with our eyes some people argue) but a slightly sweet and tart flavor.
Other fruit juices can also be added to beer to give it more of a fruit punch flavor. A spoonful of fresh fruits such as raspberries, cherries, or even lemons can totally transform the flavor of a beer.
Can You Train Yourself to Like the Taste Of Beer?
Ask one of the many beer experts down at your local craft beer bar or microbrewery tap room, and I’m sure they will have many enthusiastic tips they can offer on how you too can learn to love beer.
From food pairings that can enhance the flavors of both food and beer, to the types of beer you choose to drink, there’s so much you can learn.
Types of Beer and the Taste of Beer
Certain beer styles are known to be easier to drink and have less of a beer taste to them. Many of the pilsner lagers will have a clean crisp taste which is quite easy for beer newbies’ taste buds to get used to.
A hoppier IPA can be challenging for even the most experienced beer drinkers, yet an East Coast Hazy IPA can be much more drinkable and even resemble orange juice, both in its appearance and texture.
If you’re not a big fan of beer tastes, then try to avoid any beer that has Imperial in the name. These tend to be bigger, bolder, stronger beers that feature a higher alcohol content and more pronounced beer and hop flavors.
If you aren’t a fan of the bitter flavor of some beers, choose a style that is easier to drink like a Radler beer (beer with lemon juice added to the brew) or maybe a fruit-based beer like a Belgian Kriek (cherry beer).
Pairing Food and Beer To Enjoy a Beer Taste
Just like food, beer can be an acquired taste. Many people trying to spread the word about craft beer will ask people who say they don’t like the taste of beer what their favorite foods are.
If you like indulgent rich chocolatey desserts, you are probably going to enjoy a Stout or Porter beer with its hint of chocolate and coffee notes. You might even enjoy the creaminess of an Oatmeal stout too.
For those who like spicy foods, a crisp dry pilsner or hoppy IPA can be a perfect palate cleanser and take away some of the spice of the food. Steaks and other red meats tend to go well with almost any beer but can especially complement a brown or dark beer.
Cheese and beer can complement each other really well. This pairing is an ideal way of learning to enjoy the taste of beer while indulging in some of your favorite nibbles.
You can drink beer without tasting it if you try hard enough! Breathing in slowly and exhaling air from your mouth, and avoiding using your nose can help eliminate that beer taste.
But perhaps the question should be, why would you want to drink beer without tasting it? There’s a whole range of beers out there on the craft beer scene, each with its own different flavors and tastes. What’s to say you just haven’t tasted the right one yet?
It can be perfectly normal not to like beer at first, especially if your first time with beer is one of those cheap beers you often find in the bargain bin in your local 7/11 or at some cheaper hotel resorts.
Once you move to better-quality craft beers or imported styles, you may be surprised at the variety and quality. There’s much more choice than in the world of wine, I would argue, meaning there’s a beer to suit everyone.