How to Embark on a Craft Beer Adventure

Visiting a new brewery or craft beer bar is an exciting time of exploration and wonderment. Nothing beats being able to explore new brew territory, finally being able to visit the birthplace of my favorite beer or a highly talked about beer destination. Understanding the culture of a city or country through craft beer can be deeply rewarding.

A taster flight of Arizona Craft Beers from World of Beer - Tempe on Mill Avenue.
A taster flight of Arizona Craft Beers from World of Beer – Tempe on Mill Avenue.

I visit many breweries and taphouses around the state. When I am lucky, I get to visit a brewery or taphouse with out-of-town guests. What’s even better is when I get to assume the role of the traveling beer fanatic! This is truly one of my most favorite pastimes.

So many choices! So many new beers! I become a babbling idiot before my first pint. It’s almost a sensory overload.

Stop. Take a breath. Let’s talk about this before we freak out then default to our favorite style instead of exploring all that a brewery or craft beer house has to offer.

A sampler flight is the best way to experience a new beer environment – whether it’s a new brewery, craft beer bar or one you haven’t visited in a while.

When ordering a sampler flight at a brewery, you get a peek into the dynamics and full personality of the place you are visiting. It is also how you get to know a brewer on an intimate level. It allows you to explore how the brewery handles their beers, familiarizes you with the nuances of core ingredients – water, hops, yeast and malt – and enables you to appreciate what they appreciate in beer.

5 Things You May Discover About Yourself and Your Beer
A flight of tasters from Huss Brewing Company in Tempe, AZ.
A flight of tasters from Huss Brewing Company in Tempe, AZ. Mark me down as a fan of the Koffee Kolsch – I don’t even like coffee!
  1. You may get to sample beers that are not available to retail partners due to their limited production.
  2. You may get to sample a new brew before its release for retail sale.
  3. You may find you enjoy your go-to style of beer.
  4. You may discover a new style you have never heard of before.
  5. OR, even more exciting, you may find you have fallen in love with your new favorite beer at first sip!

A beer flight is, by all accounts, a sales tool for breweries and craft beer bars. They WANT you to sample what they have to offer. They WANT to pair you with your perfect beer for that visit – and the perfect beer for that visit may change from visit to visit and from brewery to brewery. No one is going to be able to figure it out through telepathy – it is something that you need to explore for yourself. And, please, ask questions! Knowledge is meant to be shared!

Chris Brewer is a manager for Four Peaks Grill & Tap in Scottsdale, and he speaks highly of getting a sampler flight when visiting the brewery. “Usually we begin by asking folks if they’ve ever been in, and when they haven’t, we obviously recommend the sample tray first especially when someone is unsure of which direction to go.”

In speaking with a friend about their habits when visiting new breweries, he was quick to point out that a sampler flight “allows a connoisseur to get a taste of all the brewery has to offer without breaking the budget for the more thrifty. Also, it allows moderation, so you don’t drink eight to ten full beers and stumble out sloppy drunk.”

Noted. We want to respect the crafting of fine beer and with some beers weighing in at 8% and higher, things can go wayward quickly. Besides, how are you going to check in your beers on Untappd if you can’t operate your phone to take a photo?

A taster flight from Four Peaks Brewing Company in Tempe, AZ
A taster flight from Four Peaks Brewing Company in Tempe, AZ

The excitement of exploration may be closer than you think. Visiting a local brewery like Four Peaks Brewing Company or a craft beer bar like World of Beer in Tempe and ordering a sampler flight can really give you the sensation of traveling to an exotic land or exploring things you never knew about your own backyard.

Do you order a sampler flight on your first visit? Maybe the bartenders choice? Or do you default to your favorite style?

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