Q: How should I drink a flight?
A: The real answer is this: it depends – but no matter what you’re sampling, you need to use the prime directive of tasting.
What is the prime directive of tasting, you ask?
It is this: start by tasting gentle flavours first, and then move your way to stronger ones.
The reason for this is simple – once you go big, your tastebuds can’t appreciate small anymore…until they’re allowed to reset back to normal, that is. You can read all about it in our post on Tasting Tips.
If you’re not prepared to let those buds regenerate between tastes, here are some things to consider when it comes to arranging your flight from smallest to biggest on the taste scale.
- Arranging your flight from light to dark can get you part of the way there, but consider that some very pale IPAs can pack a bigger flavour punch than some dark stouts.
- Arranging your flight by IBU (international bitterness units) can also get you there, but keep in mind that a well-balanced brew might have a big IBU rating, but the caramel notes from the malt will offset the bitterness, giving your tasting equipment a more gentle ride than perhaps you might have expected.
The bottom line is this: set it up the way you want to set it up. There’s no wrong answer when it comes to sampling a wide variety of brews – you’re going to come out the winner no matter how you do it.