On Friday students got to taste and critique four popular Aussie beers: Stone & Wood Pacific Ale, Victoria Bitter VB, Little Creatures’ Pale Ale and Coopers Sparkling Ale.
Tasting beer involves a combination of senses, including sight, smell, and taste. Students were trained to:
- Observe the beer’s colour, clarity, and foam. Note the hue, whether it’s clear or hazy.
- Gently swirl the beer to release its aromas. Take a few deep sniffs, trying to identify different scents such as malt, hops, fruit, spices, or any other characteristic aromas.
- Take a small sip of the beer and let it spread across your palate. Pay attention to the initial flavours, the texture or mouthfeel (whether it’s light, medium, or full-bodied), and any sensations like carbonation or smoothness.
- Try to identify specific tastes such as sweetness, bitterness, acidity, roasted malt, citrus, floral notes, or any other distinct flavours that come to mind. Think about the balance between these flavours and how they interact.
- Pay attention to the lingering flavours and sensations after you swallow or spit the beer. Note the finish, whether it’s crisp, dry, bitter, or has a lingering sweetness.
- Notice the differences and similarities between different Aussie beers.
Students received a worksheet showing images of fruits, spices etc. that corresponded to the flavours present in each beer. They were encouraged to refer to the food images when tasting each beer and to think if any of those flavours came through for them.
At the conclusion of the activity the answers were reveal and many proved to have a discerning palate.
In Australia, there are several unique expressions and slang terms used to refer to beer. Here are some of the common ones:
- “Frothy” or “Cold one”: These terms simply refer to a beer, highlighting the desire for a cold, refreshing beverage.
- “Tinnie”: This term is used to describe a can of beer. It originates from the word “tin,” as beer cans are typically made of aluminium.
- “Stubby”: In Australia, a “stubby” refers to a short, squat bottle of beer, usually made of glass. It is often associated with traditional Australian beer brands.
- “Schooner”: This term is used to describe a specific size of beer glass commonly found in New South Wales and Queensland. A schooner typically holds around 425ml of beer.
- “Middy” or “Pot”: These terms are used to refer to a smaller-sized beer glass, typically holding around 285ml of beer. The usage of “middy” or “pot” varies depending on the state or region in Australia.
- “Slab”: This term refers to a pack or case of beers, typically containing 24 cans or bottles. It is commonly used when purchasing beer in bulk.
- “Schooey”: This slang term refers to a shout or buying a round of beers for a group of friends. For example, “It’s my turn for a schooey!”
- “A coldie”: This expression is used to describe a cold beer, emphasizing its refreshing and enjoyable qualities.
These expressions are just a few examples of the unique Australian slang associated with beer. They add a touch of local flavour to the Australian beer culture and are widely understood by Australians when discussing their favourite beverage.
Why an Aussie beer tasting activity can help improve English.
Beer tasting can be an enjoyable and effective way to improve English language skills for several reasons:
- Descriptive language: Beer tasting involves describing the flavour, aroma, and appearance of different types of beer. This requires the use of descriptive language, which can help learners of English expand their vocabulary and improve their ability to express themselves.
- Technical vocabulary: Beer tasting also involves the use of technical vocabulary related to brewing and beer production, such as “hops,” “malt,” and “fermentation.” Learning these words and their meanings can help learners of English understand specialized texts and communicate more effectively in technical or scientific fields.
- Culture and history: Beer tasting can provide insights into the culture and history of English-speaking countries, as beer is often deeply rooted in their traditions and customs. Learning about these cultural and historical aspects can help learners of English better understand the context and meaning of the language.
- Socializing: Beer tasting often takes place in a social setting, such as a pub or brewery, which provides opportunities for learners of English to interact with native speakers and practice their language skills in a relaxed and informal setting.
Overall, Aussie beer tasting can be a fun and engaging way to improve English language skills, especially for learners who are interested in language, culture, and the brewing industry.
Learn English in Byron Bay. Lexis English students study General English, IELTS, FCE, CAE, and English plus Surfing in a friendly and professional school right in the heart of Byron Bay and only 15 minutes from the beach.