Best known for its desert-inspired, small-batch brews (like the dark Koffi Porter, made with coffee beans from Coachella Valley favorite Koffi), La Quinta Brewing Co. seasonally rotates its menu while pouring the classics year-round. At Palm Desert Food & Wine, the local brewery and others from across the country will share tastes of their frothy favorites. Not sure which kind of beer is your type? Before you belly up at the festival, La Quinta Brewing Co. partner and brew master Derek Lloyd serves up some tips for sampling what’s on tap.
WHAT’S IN A MUG?
As with wine, Lloyd shares, using the proper glassware will strengthen the aromas and flavors of a beer’s style. For instance, the slightly wider top of a tall Pilsner glass retains the lager’s quintessential foamy head and brings out the hops. Comparatively, the classic cylindrical beer mug is primarily meant to hold lots of liquid, be easy to hang onto, and keep your brew chilled. While aluminum cans carry a bit of a stigma, they are, it turns out, better for preservation. No light gets in, and they have a tighter seal than a bottle cap, so your brew stays fresher.
ENGAGE THE SENSES
Before the beer touches your taste buds, swirl it and smell it. Scent enhances the palate, and more than 90 percent of the flavor profile comes from a good sniff.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST
Lloyd recommends sipping from light to dark, reserving high alcohol-by-volume and hoppy brews until the end of your tasting.
Discover A New Favorite
The yeast used in the brewing process determines a beer’s type. Each type has a range of styles.
Lager: Usually pale to medium in color, this highly carbonated concoction ranges from bitter to sweet.
Ale: Darker than a lager, the full-bodied ale usually has a distinctive fruitiness and bitter seasoning.
Porter: A dark, well-hopped beer made with ale yeast.
Stout: Another dark beer made with ale yeast, stout is available in many variations including dry, milk, and imperial.
Blonde: Made with either ale or lager yeasts, it’s typically lighter in color and lower in alcohol content.
Golden: Customarily made with ale yeast and brewed to have more color and flavor than blondes.
Amber: Made with ale yeasts and fewer hops than blondes and IPAs, this style often has a slightly sweet caramel flavor.
IPA: Brewed with ale yeasts but more hops than traditional pale ales, the India pale ale is typically higher in alcohol content.