A beer flight is a collection of small glasses of different types of beers, and is something you’ve probably heard many times already if you visit a lot of pubs and bars. These flights come in wooden boards with glasses, and you might be left wondering, “What is going on?”
Don’t worry, you’ll soon realize that there’s nothing difficult about understanding and making beer flights. Continue reading our complete guide to learn everything about beer flights, from the different types of serving to how you can make them the right way.
What Is a Beer Flight?
A beer flight is a collection of small servings of different types of beers, usually four to eight types given at once. Typically, you get a wooden board or paddle with holes and small glasses in them. Then the bartender or brewer will put different beers in the glasses.
The beers can follow a particular theme, be random, or be based on your choices. From beer vintages to various craft beer styles, the options are limitless with flights of beer. The main point of a beer flight is to take you on a memorable experience where you taste different types of beer simultaneously.
The flight can make up a 16-ounce pint of beer and usually costs around the same as ordering a standard bottle or pint of beer. This is another reason why it’s so popular among enthusiasts. While you can request a beer flight at a pub, you can also make your own, which we will explore later in the guide.
Types of Beer Flights
If you decide to order a brewery flight from a brewpub or bar, keep in mind that there are different types. Check out the various types below so you can make an informed order and fully enjoy the experience.
– Horizontal Beer Flight
Horizontal flights are usually found at brewpubs under one brewery. This kind of beer flight gives you all types and styles of beer, but they all come from one brewery. You can easily find this at brewery taprooms if you want to explore flavors from your favorite company.
Some taprooms allow you to select all the beers you want on your flight board, while others recommend it if you’re not familiar with their selection. This type of flight is ideal for all beer lovers looking to try diverse flavors.
– Single-Style Beer Flight
This type of beer flight is usually widespread at pubs that offer beers from different breweries. Drinkers can check out various beers and try out new flavors, all from the same beer style. You can try out different kinds of IPAs or stouts from various breweries.
The benefit of ordering a single-style flight is that it gives you different variants of the same beer style, opening your taste buds to new experiences. This is recommended for beginner beer enthusiasts who aren’t sure what they like yet, as this will help them figure out the type of beer they want.
– Vertical Beet Flight
You can also check out the vertical beer flight if you’re an experienced enthusiast. You need to discern the differences in beer based on how they were aged to fully enjoy this flight board. It is basically a board made up of the same beer in different aging stages.
This beer flight gives you the chance to see the aging process of beer and what it tastes like in all those stages. Although it sounds fun, this type of beer flight is pretty rare and only comes up in beer tasting events.
Why Enthusiasts Order Beer Flights
There are different reasons why beer lovers look out for flights when they visit a brewpub. You might relate to some of the reasons below, but remember that beer flights are for everyone regardless of what reason.
They Are Indecisive Drinkers
One of the reasons why enthusiasts order craft beer flights is because they can’t choose what to drink. There are so many options available at a brewpub, and it might seem like a lot of pressure to select one pint and enjoy it for the rest of the evening. If you’re in this situation, you can give the decision-making role to the brewer instead and enjoy what you get.
They Are in the Mood for Variety
If you feel like enjoying a wide range of beers, a beer flight comes in handy. Some enthusiasts get bored with one type of beer, so they decide to taste a little bit of everything instead. Each three- to five-ounce glass gives you the variety you need and the option to constantly switch things up.
They Don’t Know What They Like
Some enthusiasts don’t know what they want, especially in the case of beginners. If you’re new to the world of craft beer, then you should first order a flight when you get to the brewpub. You can ask the brewer for a rundown on your board and choose your favorites.
They Want Novelty
Sometimes, beer enthusiasts want to try something new, and beer flights give them the chance to do so. If you’re wanting to try out a unique style of beer or brewery but are still hesitant about it, you can save money with a flight and check out different types at once. This is much better than buying a whole pint and hating it.
They Are Watching Their Alcohol Intake
If you’re trying to slow down on the drinking, you can go for beer flights. These give you a taste of different beers but won’t make you dead drunk like full pints of beer would. You can even try various craft beers with high alcohol volume but in tiny glasses.
Tips for Tasting and Organizing Beer Flights
While there are no strict rules to keep in mind when drinking and making beer flights, a few tips and tricks will make the experience more enjoyable.
– Drink in Order
The most crucial tip for drinking beers on a flight board is to consume them in order. They are usually arranged from the lightest to the strongest because that is the drinking order you should go for. Start with the light and refreshing beers and go down the board until you get to the strong and dark beers.
– Use Similar Cups
The experience is better when arranging your beer flight with cups of similar sizes. So if you’re using three-ounce cups, use them for the entirety of the flight board. You should also arrange it from darkest to lightest. Aside from these things, you are free to enjoy your beer flight however you want.
What To Expect When Getting a Beer Flight
If you order a beer flight at a brewpub, you should expect a few things from the brewer in terms of the sample sizes, the arrangement and the cost.
– Sample Size
By sample size, we mean the sizes of the cups on the flight. Typically, a flight is made up of two- to six-ounce glasses and usually between four and six types of beer. The standard way is to put four, five or six small glasses of beer on a wooden paddle that has holes to hold the glasses.
Some wooden beer flights also include up to eight glasses of beer at once. The sample size differs based on the brewpub. Keep in mind that the more glasses you have, the smaller the sizes of these glasses. Regardless, all the glasses put together are usually equal to one pint.
The usual arrangement of a beer flight is different glasses on a wooden paddle, so this is what to expect if you visit a brewpub. Some pubs go the extra mile and use metal boards instead of wood or have unique wooden designs to help them stand out.
The beers are also arranged from lightest to heaviest. Some IPA craft breweries arrange the flight from the lowest IBUs to the highest, and in some cases, they are arranged from the lowest to the highest ABV beers. Because of this, they aren’t always presented based on their color.
The general price of purchasing a beer flight equals what you will spend on a pint of beer or a standard size of beer in that pub. This is pretty reasonable and even gives good value for your money since you can try out a variety at the same price.
It’s a cost-effective way for a beer sampler to try out various beers instead of ordering pints of different kinds of beers to taste them all.
How To Make a Beer Flight Board
While it’s fun to order your beer flight from the nearest brewpub, you might want to stay at home and still enjoy the diversity. Whether you’re hanging out with your friends or loved ones, you can make things more exciting by making a flight board.
If you want to make a flight board, you can purchase a beer tasting flight set online or at your liquor store, as it includes all you need to get started. Then you can just buy the brews you want and follow the steps below.
– Determine Your Sample Size
The first thing you should do is figure out the sample size of your flight board. This includes the size of your glasses and how many you will be putting on each wooden board. You should customize the sample size based on how much you want to drink and if it equals a pint of beer.
– Check the ABV Ratings
If you want to arrange your beers correctly, it’s best to do so using their ABV ratings. You can check out the ABV ratings of each of the beers you want to use and arrange them from the lightest to the strongest one. This way, you’re not too drunk for the later beer tastings.
– Check the Serving Temperatures
Since you’ll be serving all the beers at once, it’s essential to know their temperatures before serving them. All beers have different serving temperatures depending on their style.
Pale lagers are best served in temperatures between 38 and 48 degrees Fahrenheit, while darker ones are best served between 45 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit. You can also enjoy ales between 50 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
– Serve the Beer
Once all the requirements are ticked, you can now serve the beers into the different cups. Make sure you pour the beers at 45-degree angles to maximize the foaming. You can even enhance the experience of drinking your beer flight by using wine glasses rather than pints.
What Not To Do When Making a Beer Flight
Although there are no strict rules in making beer flights, there are a few things you shouldn’t do when you want to sample beer. Here are a few of the don’ts we have compiled.
– Order Without Knowledge
While many brewpubs make your beer flight without you knowing what’s going in it, it’s best to ask questions before you start drinking it. Some breweries have fixed flight menus while others make it on the go. Regardless of what they do, you should find out first.
It would be best if you asked the brewery for the types of beers on the flight so you have a complete understanding of what you ordered. It will also increase your knowledge of beer as a beginner. If the brewery is busy, you should keep your questions short or check out the menu if they have one.
– Chug It
Some people don’t know this, but you shouldn’t chug the samples in your beer flight. They aren’t like shots where you gulp them down and get drunk. Instead, the board’s purpose is to taste it rather than get drunk.
As you drink craft beers, you should enjoy the whole experience from the scent to the flavor and mouthfeel. By doing this, you can then choose the flavor that is best consumed as a full pint of beer and order that one next time.
– Shy Away From Beers
Another thing you shouldn’t do is shy away from beers. In most cases, the beers on your flight board are new to you, or they might even be recent creations from the brewer. Even if it looks too light or too dark, you should still drink the beer and give it a try.
You can discover new tastes and delicious flavors by taking a risk and trying out all the beers on your board. Keep in mind that if you don’t like the way a particular beer style tastes, you should still check it out when you go to another pub. The flavor and aroma will likely be different.
– Taste in a Different Order
It would be best if you drank the beer in the arrangement given to you. You can ask the brewer which one you should drink first if it isn’t clear in color, and then start from whichever they point to. You can then work your way up to the final beer on the board.
Although some enthusiasts feel inclined to pick up the glass that looks the most attractive in color or scent, you should avoid this and drink the beer flight the way the brewer recommends you to.
– Spend a Lot of Time on the Line
It’s important to know what you want on your flight before reaching the bartender. Keep in mind that there will be a wide range of craft beers available at the brewpub, and you might hold up the line if you stay there trying to choose what to drink for a long time.
If you’re in a busy bar, you should check out the menu or do some research before you get to the front of the line. Alternatively, you can ask the brewer to make something up if you’re unsure of what you want. This way, you are considerate to those behind you and to the tired bartender.
How To Enjoy Your Beer Flight
If you want to improve your beer flight experience, you should do the following things:
One way to enhance your beer flight experience is to add food to the drinks. Whether you’re having lager or ale, you should look out for the kinds of food that go well with the type of beer you’re drinking. You can also ask the bartender for recommendations.
Do It With Friends
You should also enjoy the beer flight with friends and make it a whole experience. You can list the beers that you’ve tasted already so you don’t go back to it, and check out various breweries too.
Do It at Home
With the steps provided earlier in the guide, you can enjoy your beer flight when you make it at home. You can make it a stay-cation and even invite guests to bring their favorite beers.
Beer Flights Are for Everyone!
Regardless of the type of beer you love, there’s a flight board at the brewpub for you.
- A beer flight is a collection of four to six different beers in mini glasses on a wooden board.
- You can serve them based on the style, the brewery or the aging of the beer.
- People can order beer flights because they are indecisive, want to try new things, and other reasons.
- It’s important to drink from similar cups and follow the proper sequence of beers.
- A beer flight costs similar to a pint of beer.
- Choose your sample size, ABV and serving temperatures before serving your homemade flight board.
- Don’t chug your beer flights, order without knowledge or shy away from new beers.
- Enjoy your beer flight with delicious food and friends!
Now that you understand what a beer flight is, you can make yours in the comfort of your home and enjoy the experience.