Beer class: Get your suds on

Total Wine beer class

Some of the beers we tasted in beer class

For several years, I’ve participated in wine tasting classes at Total Wine’s Capital Boulevard store in Raleigh. The classes have really improved my ability to smell and taste wines. Just last week, I attended my first beer class, at the North Hill’s store, which recently moved to a larger location.

Here are a couple of things I learned:

  • The differences between the two major categories of beer,  lager and ale: Lagers are fermented at cooler temperatures, have smoother flavors and require a longer aging process. Ales are fermented at warmer temperatures, have fruitier flavors and require a shorter aging period.
  • The four core ingredients of beer are malt, hops, yeast and water. Different varieties of malt – which is barley that has been allowed to germinate, then heat-dried – account for the different colors and aromas of beer.
  • There are literally hundreds of beer styles, which are comparable to grape varietals in wine.

We tasted a variety of beers, including Euro pale lager, pilsner, dopplebock, hefeweissen, American India Pale Ale and porter/stout. I was pleased that they included two North Carolina selections: Aviator Hot Rod Red, an American amber/red ale, and Roth Dark Construct, a porter/stout.

Roth Dark Construct, a Raleigh brew, has a sweet, toasty aroma of caramel and chocolate, with the taste of chocolate, coffee and a slight bitter finish.

The Aviator Hot Rod Red, brewed in Fuquay-Varina, has a toasty, caramel aroma, with a smooth taste of grain and caramel, and a slight hoppy finish.

To learn more about Total Wine classes and find a location near you, visit:


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