Beer Tasting 101

Learn beer tasting 101 for your next Okanagan Tour

Prepare for your next Okanagan Beer Tasting

Are you going on a beer tasting tour and you aren’t sure how to properly prepare? Well look no further. We’ve done all the research so you don’t have to! Get ready for your next beer tasting experience with some helpful advice that covers all the basics you need to know in advance.  Learn about the different types of craft beer and how to get the most out of your tastings during your Okanagan Beer Tour!

Gift a Penticton Craft Beer Tour for a wedding present.

Know your Brews

There are many varieties of beer, but these are the top ones to look for when you’re hopping from brewery to brewery.


Short for India Pale Ale’s these hoppy beers can be found throughout the Okanagan. They have a strong hop bitterness with hints of pine or floral flavors and are high in alcohol content.


Lagers can be crisp and refreshing on a hot Okanagan day! They are typically pale in color, with lighter flavour and alcohol contents. Dark lagers are also available and have a malty, smooth flavour with mid-range alcohol and low bitterness.


There are many types of ales to be enjoyed on an Okanagan patio. Ales can typically be broken down into brown ales and pale ales. Brown ales have malty overtones with toasty caramel flavors and have mid-range alcohol and hop bitterness. Pale ales have lower alcohol and hoppiness than IPA’s and are great for a lighter refreshing drink.

Stouts and Porters

There are a wide range of stouts and porters brewed across the Okanagan, so enjoy the variety. Stouts are traditionally darker in color and tend to have strong roasted flavors, with a mid to high alcohol level. Porters are also dark and very similar to stouts, with chocolate, coffee and caramel flavors.

Taste a flight of beer

Now that you know your brews it time to learn how to properly taste them.

Your 4 Steps to Beer Tasting

To truly appreciate a good brew, you have to do a little more than just drink it!

1. Swirl & Smell

Check out the color, transparency and consistency of your beer as you gently swirl it in the glass to make some foam, then smell the aroma coming from the beer. What do you smell? Is it hoppy? Sweet? What are you reminded of? Taking the time to smell your beer before you taste it will allow you to get as much flavour as possible from it.

2. Sip

Take a sip of your brew and while doing this try to take in some air as well. This is one time that it’s okay to ‘slurp’ your drink.  This allows for more flavors to become present and you will get the most taste out of your beer.

3. Swish and Savor

Swish the beer around in your mouth and see how it feels. Try and notice the various tastes that hit your palate – a good beer will have multiple sensations and flavous!  Can you identify them? Ask your friends too as this is all part of the beer savoring experience.

4. Swallow

Unlike wine, which can be fully tasted without swallowing, a beer must be drunk to completely appreciate it. This allows it to hit all the taste buds in your mouth and let’s face it, it’s a lot more fun!

While you don’t need to do this every time you taste a beer, these four steps will help you get the most out of all the flavor and sensations of your brew samples.

Now you’ve taken Beer Tasting 101, you’re officially ready to go and experience an Okanagan Beer Tour! Check out our offers in Kelowna and Penticton.

Enjoy from 16 to 20 craft beer tastings on our Kelowna Brewery Tour.


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