5 Clues to Deciphering Craft Beer Styles

Understanding what a beer might taste like from its name alone can be a little daunting. Despite the craft beer community’s welcoming nature, it is easy to see why newcomers might feel lost when looking at a beer menu. Wheat, weizen and wit—each are different styles with specific histories and characteristics, but all are fairly similar in composition. It can be confusing!

While some beer styles require a bit of background to understand, one can often make reasonable assumptions about a beer’s character with a small amount of information. Here is a list of five clues that will help you quickly decipher what a beer might taste like before ordering that we wanted to share!

1. Origin/Region

A beer style’s country or region of origin goes a long way in providing clues to what the beer might taste like. The classic beer styles were developed over hundreds of years and were greatly impacted by regional and environmental variables like geography, climate and water chemistry.

Is it impossible to make a German lager outside of Germany? Of course not! As world travel became easier and the science of brewing was better understood, brewers began to mimic water qualities of specific regions and wrangle yeast cells to attain beer qualities once unique to certain ares of the world. Today, many American craft brewers have become skilled at brewing lagers similar to those originally crafted in Bavaria, hoppy IPAs reminiscent of the Burton-on-Trent region (Staffordshire, UK), roasty stouts indicative of Dublin, Ireland, and even the mysteriously tart and complex beers of Flanders, Belgium.

Of course there are exceptions to every rule, but these geographic-centric terms found in beer style names can offer clues about a beer’s character.

Origin Clues

  • German-style | lager with complex malt character and floral hops
  • Belgian-style | fruity, spicy ales or sour beers
  • English-style | pale ales, porters and stouts with earthy hop character
  • American-style | hop-forward beers with flavors of pine, citrus and resin
  • Belgo-American | fruity and spicy Belgian yeast flavor with American-style hop character

2. Color

You eat with your eyes, right? Well, you drink with them too. Colors play a factor in beer appreciation and have become popular for naming derivatives of classic styles (e.g., black IPA, white IPA). Classic beer styles include a fair number of beers named after their color, and you can often make a good guess of a beer’s malt flavor just by knowing its name and seeing it in a glass.

Color Clues

  • Light/Pale | Flavors: grainy, bread-like | Styles: blonde ale, helles, Belgian-style wit
  • Amber | Flavors: toasty, bread crust | Styles: amber ale, amber lager
  • Brown | Flavors: toast, roasted nuts, chocolate | Styles: brown ale, Marzen, dopplebock
  • Black | Flavors: burnt toast, dark chocolate, coffee, espresso | Styles: dry stout, robust porter, American black ale

3. Special Ingredients

There is no better clue when anticipating what a beer may taste like than having one or more of the star ingredients in the name. Some of these ingredients are so popular that they have become recognized with their own style categories. Special ingredients range in intensity, but there is usually an expectation that the brewer will aim to strike a balance, ensuring that the base style still prevails while the added notes sing.

Common Special Ingredients

  • Chocolate
  • Coffee
  • Fruit | raspberries, strawberries, peaches, cherries, etc.
  • Herb and Spices | cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, heather, etc.

4. Yeast

The type of yeast used in a style has a great impact on the final beer. The standard explanation is that beer is divided into two categories: ales and lagers. Of course, like with most things, a gray area exists. Today’s brewers are using nontraditional yeasts, blending different types of yeast and using traditional yeast in untraditional ways. It’s not quite as cut and dry as ale and lager, but some generalities do exist.

Ales

Ales ferment at warmer temperatures; because of this, they often present more yeast-derived flavors (fruity, sometimes spicy). Usually when you see the term ale, you can anticipate that yeast flavors provide some, if not much, of the flavor you will experience. When you enjoy a Belgian-style dubbel, you tend to taste a lot of fruit. Fruit flavors don’t necessarily mean that there is fruit in the beer, but rather that the yeast used has provided those flavors. We call fruity yeast flavors esters. A common example of esters is seen in German weizens, in the flavor perceived as banana.

Lagers

Lagers ferment at cooler temperatures and create a much “cleaner” beer, allowing you to taste the malt and hops more explicitly. As a test, try tasting an amber ale and amber lager side by side. Both will have generally the same ingredients, but the flavors will differ because of the yeast that was used.

5. Vessel/ Vintage/ Volume

Vessel

Beer that has been aged can pick up the flavors of the vessel it has spent time in. Barrels, are one of the most common aging vessels. If a barrel has never been used, the beer can present flavors of the wood itself, usually oak. Oak flavors can be spicy, woody or even vanilla-like, depending on how the barrel was prepared. If the barrel had been previously used for another beverage (wine or spirits), there may be some residual flavors from those present as well. So if you don’t like the taste of bourbon, beware of a bourbon barrel-aged beer.

Vintage

A vintage denotes the year a beer was produced. While in most cases beer should be enjoyed fresh, there are certain styles that can develop positively when aged. If you see that a beer has a vintage, you can assume it has a relatively high ABV, as alcohol has preservative qualities. Additionally, you might expect the flavors to be more complex when compared to a fresh example of the same beer.

Volume: “These go to 11.”

Volume usually denotes either flavor or strength. Words like “strong,” “sour” and “session” act as clues to what you might experience. These clues, when coupled with your basic understanding of the base style, should allow you to make a solid guess about the beer.

  • Strong ale | an ale of significant alcoholic strength
  • Sweet stout | very dark, sweet, full-bodied, slightly roasty ale
  • Robust porter | substantial, malty dark ale with a complex and flavorful roasty character
  • Session IPA | characteristics of a traditional IPA, but with less alcoholic strength
  • Imperial stout | a stronger version of the original stout style

The Big Picture

Even in the best beer establishments, there won’t always be someone to answer questions about a draught list. Learning the basics about a few of the more common beer styles will go a long way in helping you order something you’ll enjoy!

http://www.craftbeer.com/craft-beer-muses/5-clues-to-deciphering-craft-beer-styles

12 Ways to Market Your Beer Event with Social Media

12 Ways to Market Your Event With Social Media

Whether you’re planning a real-world event (like a “largely publicized craft beer event”) or a local event (like a “street fair or in-the-park beer social”), social media can be an inexpensive, cost-effective way to build buzz, fill seats, and turn a one-off gathering into a recurring event.

The trick is to know which social media tools to use and when to use them.  This article contains 12 useful social media tips designed to help your events shine.

Before Your Event

The first step is to make people aware of your event, to mark it on their calendar, and to

register. Here’s the game plan:

#1: Market Your Event Through Twitter

There are many ways in which you can use Twitter to raise awareness. Many conferences and events have their own hashtags, such as #smss10 or #metweetup. There’s no magic to creating one—just start using a hashtag in all your related tweets and encourage other people to do the same when talking about your event.

To encourage people to tweet out your hashtag and spread the word, sweeten the deal with a free pass, door prize or other giveaway for one lucky hashtag-er.

If your event is large enough, give it its own Twitter account such as @Blogworld or @socialmediaFTW, which serves as a customer service “hotline”and adds credibility to the event.

Mix up your event tweets by varying the message.

Mix up your beer event tweets by varying the message.

Constantly tweeting that your event is coming will annoy some of your followers, so mix it up: use tweets to announce new sponsors, special guests, an open bar, secret after-party, or to ask questions that might help shape the event.

Finally, ask for people to share your event with the simple phrase, “Please RT!” You’ll be amazed at the results. Just don’t overdo it; you don’t want to look desperate, do you?

#2: Market Your Event Through Facebook

Certainly you can update your status with news of your event, but don’t overlook Facebook events, which Facebook guru Mari Smith calls “one of the most powerful tools on the platform.”

A page for your event attracts fans.

I’ve found success by first creating a page for the event, and then creating a “Facebook Event” from that. This is especially helpful if you have a recurring event, such as an annual conference or a tweetup, as it helps build a fan base over time.

A page for your event attracts fans.

Other benefits of creating a Facebook page include:

  • You can add a “Like Box” to your website, blog or other web presence to promote your clambake.
  • You can invite fans as well as friends to the March on Washington.
  • You can take out targeted Facebook ads to reach people outside your network who would be interested in your Save the Whales Sit-In.

#3: Market Your Event Through LinkedIn

Promote business functions with LinkedIn Events to reach your professional network. As Lewis Howes points out in his excellent post, Top 5 Ways to Market Your Business with LinkedIn, “once someone RSVPs to your event, it shows up on the home profile of everyone that person is connected to, spreading the message for you.”

It’s simple and straightforward to create an event on LinkedIn. Once you’ve completed that task, it’s just as easy to invite up to 50 people from your LinkedIn network. It also shows up in the events search.

#4: Market Your Event Through Your Blog

Whether through an existing blog or a blog created specifically for your gathering, be sure to create posts announcing the event, calls for presenters, and sponsorship opportunities. Follow up with guest posts from presenters who should welcome the opportunity to reach a wider audience (and steal people who might have attended competing events!).

#5: Other Places to Market Online

There are plenty of online calendars, and you should list your event in any that seem appropriate.

Local papers, TV channels and radio stations’ websites often host a calendar of events that offer free postings. Tweetvite is a site for promoting and learning about tweetups, and Eventful is one of many sites where you can list all types of gatherings.

#6: Event Marketing and Registration Tools

There’s no need to reinvent the wheel when handling online registration for your event. Constant Contact is a highly popular tool for the social media crowd sourcing and email reach and registration.

With these tools you can create and market your event, and even collect payments with registration. Registration forms appear on the event marketing company’s site and can be embedded into your website or blog.

Sharing tools let attendees post to Facebook and Twitter, which builds buzz and generates more registrations.

During Your Event

Just because your event has started doesn’t mean the marketing has ended! If you’re promoting an all-day affair of beer nirvana in the park, people will be milling in and out all day. Keep the excitement and foot traffic high by leveraging social media well into the night.

#7: Foursquare and Gowalla

Events on Foursquare will encourage attendees to share.

It costs nothing to create an event in Foursquare or Gowalla, and attendees who are hip to location-based apps will want to check in to your event for the extra points!

Since many people link their Foursquare and Gowalla activity to Twitter and Facebook, check-ins reach well beyond early adopters of location-based apps.

Events on Foursquare will encourage attendees to share.

You can greatly increase the number of check-ins by adding signs and table-top displays reminding people to check in, and even sweeten the deal with a giveaway or random drawing.

#8: Use Those Hashtags!

Hashtags make your event more findable, searchable and memorable.

People will tweet out memorable lines from your event, so make sure everyone knows the Twitter hashtag: put it in your literature, on name tags, and announce it during your keynote.

Hashtags make your event more findable, searchable and memorable.

#9: Live Blogging

If you’re putting on a conference, it might be worthwhile to have someone “live blog” the sessions. Instead of just taking notes, have them take notes straight into a blog post and publish it as soon as the session ends.

#10: A Picture Says a Thousand Words

Although Twitpics and iPhone photos are great and shareable, hire a photographer for the day. If you can’t afford one, consider an in-kind trade of a free pass. Make sure you come to an agreement on who owns the photos and how they can be used online to promote this and future events.

#11: Thoughts on Video

There are so many ways to use video at your event: quick interviews with attendees and speakers on Flip cams, recorded sessions, or live streaming the event with UStream.tv.

#12: After Your Event

After the glow of a successful comic book convention, bean supper or Tri for a Cure fades, it’s time to get back to work.

Create a blog post of your reflections on how the event went, what you learned, and even how the next one could rock even harder.  Ask for feedback and suggestions in the comments field. Post something similar to your Facebook page and encourage fans and friends to leave comments there as well.

Upload your photos to Flickr and other photo sharing sites and be sure to give them appropriate titles, descriptions and tags. Use the Creative Commons license to let them be shared as far and wide as possible.

After you’ve finished uploading your photos to Facebook be sure to tag everyone you know and ask them to “fill in the blanks” by tagging anyone else. This can have a viral effect as people love seeing photos of themselves and their friends, driving them all back to your Facebook page.

Post video to YouTube, Facebook and other video sharing sites. Ask your presenters to share their slides on Slideshare, again with appropriate tags, titles and links.

Wrapping Up

Undoubtedly, there are more sites and techniques to promote your event through social media. What platforms do you use, what techniques have proven especially effective, and how did you generate excitement and fill the seats at your last event?

Cirqle Media and Brewing-A-Brand have tools and support that can take your event to a new level.  If you have a beer event in the works or a 2nd annual that needs more lift – send us a note and will provide some ideas and marketing support that will get your vendors, sponsors and attendees talking about your event for years to come.

Contributing Writer Rich Brooks and Our Marketing Team

Your best bar pickup-line may be gone for good

We all recognize the impact of social media on our lives. It has certainly changed the way we find, meet and talk about our favorite corner street bar.  Well, Budweiser is looking to take it a step further with the Buddy Cup.  Local bars are filling up mugs as bar stools line up fans for the NBA and NHL playoffs, I thought I’d share some bar mingling technology.  You have to watch this video from Budweiser.  Regardless of how techy or strange it might seem, do you think this is the future of our beloved watering hole hot spots? Does anyone even know their “sign” anymore? Lost is the long list of bad pickup-lines, juke boxes and phone numbers scribbled on bar napkins.

Share your thoughts – is the buddy cup too robotic and impersonal or is it the future of social mingling and the next best ice-breaker?

Budweiser Brazil is testing new concept called “The Buddy Cup,” a beer glass integrated with Facebook. Thanks to a microchip embedded in the bottom of the glass, two people can instantly become Facebook friends when cups touch.

To get started, drinkers have to connect their cup to their Facebook profiles by snapping a picture of the chip via a smartphone app. Check out the YouTube video above to see how it works.

Although the company hasn’t released many details about the Buddy Cup yet, it is intended to be used during the brand’s sponsored events such as concerts and festivals. No word yet on if we could see this pop up in the U.S. anytime soon.

This would certainly make it easy to meet people and exchange information while out with friends — and perhaps, it’s a more natural way to use technology in social settings than other connecting-concepts such as the QR-code Skanz bracelet or even the Bump app.

10 Must-Have Social Marketing Tools

Are you looking for ways to enhance your social media marketing and expand your craft brew awareness? These programs and products will help you connect, engage and build your social footprint.  Empower your most loyal customers (those that visit your events, stop into your tasting rooms) and encourage them to be social advocates – and share the love of your beer with their friends and family.  Social Media continues its growth as one of the most influential marketing channels for the craft brew industry – especially on a localized landscape.

We asked a group of social media pros for the hottest social media tools they use today.

Check them out to see if these social media tools are a good fit for you!

#1: Unlock to Share Plugin

My favorite social marketing tool of all time is the unlock to share plugin. What is it? It’s a simple plugin that “unlocks” additional content when your web visitors share your stuff on Facebook, Twitter or Google+.

viral lock code canyonMake your site go viral by requiring the user to share your link to unlock content.

 

Why is this so valuable? Well, today everyone has a Like button on their site. But if you want your audience to share your stuff, you need to give them a little incentive! That’s exactly what this plugin does.

In my most recent experiment, I had 452 people land on a page where they had access to royalty-free music they could use in their videos. If you shared the post, I gave you an additional five music tracks. Out of those 452 visitors, 379 shared to unlock those five extra songs!  That’s 84%!

These unlock to share plugins are everywhere. The one I used was found over on CodeCanyon.

James Wedmore, co-founder of Video Traffic Academy and founder of Video Sales Magic and Video Copy Pro.

#2: SlideShare

This isn’t a “new” tool, but I’m amazed by the number of marketers who still don’t use SlideShare as a main staple in their social media distribution.  According to the latest research from Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, just 23% of B2B marketers and only 7% of B2C marketers leverage SlideShare (which now sees approximately 60 million users per month).

SlideShare is a great tool to use as part of your company’s storytelling process.

We continue to integrate SlideShare into our visual storytelling, and it’s now a key part of our lead generation process.  It’s a true sleeping giant.

Joe Pulizzifounder of the Content Marketing Institute and author of Managing Content Marketing and co-author of Get Content, Get Customers. 

#3: Commun.it

I use Commun.it to help build and nurture relationships with supporters, influencers and potential customers on Twitter.

The basic service, which is free, keeps track of your most valuable followers and interactions, rolling up the data into an action-driven dashboard. One glance and you’ll know whom to follow, whom to thank and to whom you need to respond—all of which you can do directly within the tool.

Another big plus: You can quickly spot your most active conversation buddies. Commun.it tallies up the number of exchanges between you and other Tweeters, indicating whether or not you’re following each other.

communitCommun.it rolls up your data into an action-driven dashboard.

In addition to the dashboard, Commun.it has reporting functionality. I love the way it lists hard-to-find stats in one handy place, including new followers, the handles of who stopped following you, RTs of your content, direct messages and total reach.

Commun.it also records this social activity for your Twitter handle, so you can keep tabs on your own contributions and connections in the Twitterverse.

Shelly Lucas, senior marketing manager and leader of social media at Dun & Bradstreet.

#4: YouTube’s Audience Retention Report

You’ve probably read that YouTube search is now optimized for time watched. Effective YouTube marketing demands that we understand (and create better videos based on) how our videos are watched, at least as much as we “optimize” them for SEO, etc.  Those “gurus” who tell you to buy thousands of 5-second views to bump up your view count … yes, that does the search damage you always knew it would.

This is why audience retention is the new view count.

The new Audience Retention Report in YouTube is, without a doubt, the most important social media marketing tool to come around in a long time.  You can now see what kind of retention you’re getting from your videos and how it compares to everyone else’s.  Want to get to the top of the results?  Study this Audience Retention Report like a hawk and update your video making strategies accordingly.

The following video walks you through a couple of reports and offers some insights on how to respond.

 

Paul Colligan, education czar for Traffic Geyser Inc. and CEO of Colligan.com. 

#5: Cyfe

While there are a number of enterprise-level listening and monitoring tools available to assist brands, a new tool that I’ve been a fan of is Cyfe. It provides visibility into social channel and search metrics that typically only admins of those channels/tools have access to.

all in one business dashboard cyfeCyfe is an all-in-one dashboard that helps you monitor and analyze data scattered across all of your online services.

For example, we’re able to set up a visual real-time dashboard for GoToMeeting, which provides brand-specific Facebook Insights data, YouTube Analytics, Twitter and Twitter Search information, SEOMoz, Google Trends, Google Analytics and a number of other social or search data points.

As a social media team, we’re often asked for such information from team members who are curious about the community, channel interactions and other related questions. Cyfe has enabled to us to make that data easily accessible to our team members.

Going one step beyond social and search, Cyfe also enables you to bring in your CRM, email marketing and blog data, with new integrations shipping on a regular basis.

Justin Levystrategic advisor on all social media activities at Citrix Online and editor-in-chief of Workshifting.com.

#6: Cloze

The newest tool that I’m most excited about is Cloze, recommended to me by Jascha Kaykas-Wolff of Mindjet.

Imagine an aggregation and curation system for your social network and that’s what Cloze provides. I’m able to view the activity of people by date in my network and then check them off, respond to them, like them or retweet them directly from the Cloze interface.

clozeCloze helps you increase your interaction with those most important to you.

It’s absolutely genius and is already saving me tons of time, increasing my interaction with those most important to me and reducing the clutter and wasted time of having five channels open that I’m constantly trying to stay abreast of. This is the inbox of the future! Cloze is currently in beta.

Douglas Karr, founder and chief blogger at the Marketing Technology Blog, founder of DK New Media (an inbound marketing agency) and author of Corporate Blogging for Dummies.

#7: AgoraPulse

There is no shortage of social media marketing tools these days, that’s for sure. But despite the overwhelming number of tools out there, it’s still very difficult to find the ones that will really deliver while remaining accessible for a small-business budget.

When it comes to managing our Facebook Page, I’ve been very impressed with AgoraPulse. It focuses on Facebook (at least for now), but provides everything your Facebook Page will ever need.

In addition to contest and promotion applications that are a “must-have” for every Facebook Page, AgoraPulse offers unique features that really make a difference, such as:

  • Detailed benchmark with competitors
    agorapulseAgoraPulse shows you a detailed benchmark with your competitors.
  • Fan ranking and qualification
    agorapulseThe fan management feature shows you fan ranking and qualification.
  • Advanced statistics and personalized content recommendations
    agorapulseYou can also track average users reached by day of week.

They also offer a ton of other great features such as advanced statistics, automated moderation and even admin rights and workflow management. These are the kind of features that used to be only available in expensive enterprise-level solutions. Getting access to such advanced and useful features for a price that every small businesses can afford does make a big difference.

Aaron Kahlow, CEO of Online Marketing Connect and chairman and founder of the Online Marketing Summit and its related educational arm, the Online Marketing Institute.

#8: GaggleAMP

One application that I’ve recently been exposed to and am excited about is GaggleAMP. I talk to many marketers who say, “If only our sales and business development team would share our social media postings, it would help us reach a greater—and more relevant—audience in social media.”

This is especially relevant in B2B companies where you traditionally have a large sales force compared to a small number of people in marketing. That sales force represents a potential army of internal brand advocates who can help make a company’s social media marketing efforts much more effective.

googleampLeverage employees, partners, customers and fans to share your company’s social media messages on your behalf.

With the emergence of GaggleAMP, social media and marketing directors can now utilize the reach of their internal staff to help spread their message in social media, and internal employees have complete control in deciding exactly which messages they would like to share on which platforms and how frequently.

Companies simply sign up to GaggleAMP, create a “Gaggle” (a group revolving around their content), and then request that interested employees join the Gaggle. Employees then authorize their social networks and decide which content they would like to share with their network.

GaggleAMP can send notifications when new content is available to be posted, and there is even a “point” system to gamify social sharing and reward those internal employees who are good sharers.

googleamp memberGaggleAMP tracks activity, allowing you to report on the impact and ROI for every message and campaign.

B2B companies are sitting on a goldmine of brand advocates who work at their company. By using GaggleAMP, they can organize and leverage their internal tribe while ensuring control over social media messages that are sent out externally.

For employees, it’s internal content curation served up on a platter to give them more timely and relevant content to share with their networks and maintain mindshare on whichever social networks the company’s customers or clients are on.

I expect to hear about more companies adopting GaggleAMP in the months to come!

Neal Schaffer, founder of Windmills Marketing, is a leading social media strategist and teaches social media marketing at Rutgers University.

#9: SproutSocial

I’ve been enjoying the statistics and tools available on SproutSocial, and am using it to get good Twitter and Facebook overviews of my accounts and for some of my clients’ statistics.

You can also do some Twitter account comparisons, schedule content, bring in your Google Reader to watch for content and share accounts with others.

sproutsocialDeliver beautiful detailed reports to your organization or customers.

If you manage many accounts, you can easily create nice-looking reports that give a good overview of activity and growth and SproutSocial is reasonably priced.

Andrea Vahl, social media coach, speaker and strategist and Facebook community manager for Social Media Examiner.

#10: Reachli

Reachli (formerly known as Pinerly) is the hottest new Pinterest analytics tool. Similar to Facebook and Twitter apps such as Buffer and HootSuite, Reachli allows users to pre-schedule pins and view feedback data such as click-through rates and number of repins. Creating social campaigns on Reachli is easy with its clean and simplified design.

Although the site is optimal for Pinterest analytics, it also allows users to post on any social platform and benefit from similar analyses. Boasting comprehensive capabilities, Reachli is an ideal page-management tool for any brand or community manager.

pinerly analyticsReachli helps you understand what works and what doesn’t to help you optimize your posts.

Social media analytics are essential in providing users with optimal content, as well as discovering hard data to support social initiatives. Offering real-time analytics and best practices data, Reachli helps you optimize your Pinterest content based on the analysis of click-through rates and repin feedback. This beneficial information can result in more effective scheduling and more engaging content.

For a low cost, brands can also employ Reachli advertising, a service that uses a unique algorithm to match content with its most relevant online audience across the social sphere. As Pinterest grows in popularity, brands will find the capabilities of Reachli to be extremely beneficial in most effectively leveraging the social platform.

Dave Kerpen, cofounder and CEO of Likeable, author of Likeable Social Media and the forthcoming Likeable Business.

Contributing writer, Cindy King with Social Media Examiner