How To Talk About Beer Without Sounding Like A Tool

Admittedly this is a lot tougher to do than initially imagined. It has always been our ethos here at CATW – talk about the brews in “real terms with no pretentious waffle”, but occaisionally we venture into the realm of snobbery to borrow phrases for our own nefarious purposes.

With that in mind we’ve put together a simple guide for dummies like us :


Dark / Light : This is not exclusively used for discussing the colour but predominantly. You’ll see it in mostly red ales, stouts, porters and the like. Or occasionally a wicked dirty beer. Opacity is definitely a factor.


Heavy / Medium / Light : Again this is not exclusively used for taste or “mouthfeel” but predominantly so. It all depends on the context. It is useful for describing the fullness of flavour.


Malty: Refers to the malted barley (or malt taste), much like with coffee beans it can describe the roast taste ranging from light to dark.


Hoppy: Hops dictates the “mustiness” of a beer. As in – how musty it is, not I MUST have one of those…. It’s a very distinct flavour and can be described as citrusy, floral and grassy.


Bitter: This is probably one of the simplest descriptions. Is it bitter? Think Lemons, Limes, super sour Haribo.


Fruity: Again, lets not get too bogged down with this one. Does it taste like fruit? (Also see : Hops)


Spicy: Is there a distinct flavour of cloves? Tobasco? Cinnamon? (I don’t know what you’re drinking)


Acidity : Does it taste like vinegar?


Aggressive / Overpowering / Harsh : This is when the flavour is intense and liable to start a fight.


Smooth : Texture and flavour.


Rich : How much money the brew has. A good way to measure the fullness of the flavour.


Crisp : The bite of the brew.


Refreshing : Sometimes accompanied by Crisp and refers to the thirst-quenching nature of the brew.

And now for some terminology used exclusively here at CATW :

One and done : This refers to the quantity you could happily drink in one session. This term refers to taste and/or heaviness of the brew but can also refer to brews with excessive alcohol content.


A wee three thirty boi : This term is used to describe a specific size of can. Cans come in various sizes but this refers to the textbook 330ml can. There are many like it but this one is mine.


There’s a lot going on : When the flavour is too complex to pick out when specific factor.


It would be short night out : This refers exclusively to the alcohol percentage of the brew.

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