After a long hike, ride, or day of yard work, nothing beats a good beer. Often that beer just needs to be cold and fresh to hit the spot. But other times, when my inner beer geek is showing out, I enjoy taking the time to pay attention to, and "taste" my beer. If you wanna know how to taste beer like a geek, here is a quick rundown of the process.
AATMF is a common method for evaluating a beer.
Appearance: For this one, you need to ditch the bottle or can and pour your beer into a clear glass. Does it have a good head? Is the color yellow, dark amber or some other variation? Is it clear or hazy (like most every IPA brewed these days)?
Aroma: Stick your nose deep into the glass and get several good sniffs. Is there a citrusy or floral aroma from the hops? Do you detect roasted aromas from the malts?
Taste: Now for the fun part. Taste the beer! But do it intentionally. Swish the beer around in your mouth. Are you getting a taste of pine from the hops? Maybe a toffee or biscuity taste from the malts? Or does the yeast give a particular flavor such as you might find in a German Hefeweizen? Do you have the misfortune to be accidentally drinking a Gose (jk)?
Mouthfeel: Do you get a prickly feeling from the CO2? Or is there a smooth, velvety coating on your tongue?
Finish: After you swallow the beer, what's left behind? Is it dry or do you get a bit of left over hop bite? Maybe there is a lingering roasted flavor from the darker malts?
That's AATMF in a nutshell. Be sure to let us know in the comments what beer you try this on and what your impressions were. The beauty of this process is there are no right or wrong answers. You may be drinking the same exact beer as your friend sitting on the barstool beside you and get a totally different flavor impression. And that's ok! It's not a test; it's just a way to pay a bit more attention to your beer. And please don't think I'm suggesting you do this every time you have a beer; I sure as hell don't. I typically start my evening with something new that I will taste "intentionally", and then chill out from there.