On a recent visit to Dublin, Ireland, Rotterdam’s bar team went to the Guinness Brewery and Jameson Distillery to learn more about the beverages they serve onboard. Passengers have the opportunity to visit these places, too, during a call at Dublin on the A Taste of Dublin: The Guinness Experience and the A Taste of Ireland: Whiskey in the Jar tours.
If you’re looking for other ports around the globe that have tours to beverage-making facilities, try cruises that call at these ports: Bridgetown, Barbados, for the Barbados’s Finest Blends: Mount Gay & Four Square Rum Distilleries tour; Mt. Rokko & Sake Brewery at Kobe, Japan; Haines, Alaska, and the A Taste of Haines: Meet the Brewmeister tour, and Zeebrugge, Belgium, for the Bruges & A Taste of Belgian Beer tour.
But it’s not just ashore where guests can learn about beer. The ships offers beer tastings where guests can sample several beers from a select region. For example, in Alaska the tasting features Alaskan amber, summer, pale and white ales.
But what do all the terms mean? To get you up to speed on beer tasting terminology, here are some definitions so you can walk into the tasting like a pro:
Amber: Describes medium intensity colored beers, ranging between pale and dark.
Balance: As with wine, describes how a good beer should exhibit a perfect balance of ingredients, bouquet, texture and aroma. Neither the malty sweetness nor the hoppy bitterness should dominate.
Bitterness: In beer comes from the hops. Generally the higher the hop content, the more bitter the beer.
Big beer: Refers to the richness or fullness of flavor derived from the malt. Big beers often have a high alcohol content.
Black: Describes non-transparent, deep, dark brown beers.
Body: As with wine, refers to the “mouthfeel,” the impact and texture of the beer on the palate.
Bouquet: Another wine tasting term, describes the beer’s complex aromas.
Caramel: Refers to a buttery, toffee-flavored aftertaste.
Clean: Refers to pure, crisp, fresh tasting beer, free of sediment. The opposite of clean is cloying.
Clove: Refers to the flavor of wheat beers that often resembles the taste of cloves.
Crisp: Often associated with lagers and weiss beers, refers to a beer’s acidity and refreshing qualities.
Depth: Denotes both the beer’s richness and its complexity of flavors.
Finish: Another wine tasting term, describes a beer’s aftertaste and your final impression of it.
Flat: Refers to characterless, dull, insipid, often insufficiently carbonated beer.
Flowery: Refers to the flowery aroma hops give beer.
Fresh: Refers to a beer free from oxidation. .
Full-bodied: Characterizes malty beers with complex flavors.
Haze: Caused by yeast or protein suspension, refers to a cloudy appearance and slightly musty taste.
The head: Is the frothy top layer that forms when beer is poured into a glass.
Hoppy: Refers to a beer with a high hop content.
Malty: Is the term for sweet, smoky, earthy flavored beers that have undertones of treacle, caramel or molasses.
Oxidized: Like wine, refers to the liquid’s exposure to oxygen.
Smooth: Characterizes easy drinking beers with great mouthfeel.
Spicy: Refers to a distinctly hoppy flavor or the aroma of herbs.
Thin: Refers to a watery, one-dimensional beer that lacks body or character.
If you attend a beer tasting, be sure to snap some photos and send them in to firstname.lastname@example.org. Perhaps you’ll be featured on one of our social media channels!