They say the main difference between beer tasters and wine tasters is that beer tasters swallow. Guilty as charged. But we don't do it to get drunk, although I like to imagine beer drinkers have a better appreciation of inebriation than the wine crowd.
We do it because beer is complex enough that our tongues detect different flavors as it passes across. The tips of our tongues are more prone to pick up the malty flavors, while the backs detect bitterness. So beer has a 'finish,' the taste we get as we swallow. EDIT: I have been contacted by someone quoting science, saying that the tongue taste map has been debunked. So I'll search for a more plausible reason that the taste of complex foods/drinks changes and post back here when I find it.
So for tonight's featured beer, I decided to draw a diagram of the tastes encountered drinking Peak Organic Espresso Amber Ale. It's a relatively simple beer with three waves of taste: the maltiness at first, the huge taste of espresso as it passes through the mouth, and a pleasant, lightly hoppy finish.
So here it is:
I know it looks like a floor tile sample here, but it tastes delicious. I thought it was novel of Peak Organic to make an amber coffee beer, and this beer exceeded my expectations. Although one can't drink too much because it clocks in at 6.8% abv, I could easily drink 2 or 3 of these in a session. I've seen complaints that the espresso flavor is overwhelming- that's true only if you're serious about the German Beer Purity Law, or you just don't like espresso.
Otherwise, you'll see this, as I did, as a huge step for Peak Organic. I've always respected their beer - the maple oat ale was pretty good - but it was nothing remarkable until this bold, beautiful creation. Definitely check this one out.