Napa Valley Wine Academy

Why use the WSET’s Systematic Approach to Tasting Beer?

Tasting Beer - WSET Systematic Approach to Tasting Beer

By: Stephen Staples, DipWSET

Ah, beer! A beverage adored by many, often seen as a more casual counterpart to wine (rightly or wrongly). Yet, the complexities of beer, its aromas, flavors, and the sheer diversity of styles can be just as intricate as its vinous counterpart. While the laid-back approach to beer has its charm, there’s an allure to understanding it on a deeper, more nuanced level. Enter the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET).

Now, you might think: “WSET? Aren’t they all about wine, spirits and sake?” And while that’s historically accurate, the world of beverage education is evolving. Just as the casual wine lover benefits from structured wine education, so too can the beer drinker enhance their appreciation with formal beer learning. An important part of this education is embracing the Systematic Approach to Tasting (SAT) to Tasting Beer which is both an enlightening, enjoyable and tasty part of the journey.


So, what exactly is the Systematic Approach to Tasting (SAT) to tasting beer?

The WSET’s Systematic Approach to Tasting Beer and the Beer-Lexicon provides a structured framework to understand and evaluate beer. It offers learners a consistent and comprehensive way to approach beer tasting, focusing on its appearance, nose, palate, and the conclusions one can draw from these observations.

Why would a casual beer lover care about this approach?

For one, it can greatly enhance enjoyment. By understanding the intricacies of what you’re sipping, you can discover layers of flavor and aroma that might have previously gone unnoticed. It’s akin to watching a movie in high-definition – the experience is just richer. Similarly, comprehending the structure of beer adds depth to each sip, allowing you to savor the craftsmanship behind every brew.

Moreover, SAT can help you pinpoint your preferences. Perhaps you gravitate towards IPAs but shy away from stouts and can’t understand why? With a more formal understanding of beer components, you can better identify what appeals to your palate and why. Additionally, by recognizing the nuances of your favored styles, you can uncover other beer styles that align with your tastes, broadening your beverage horizons.

Furthermore, even if you find yourself disliking certain styles, understanding them can foster appreciation. While you might never develop a love for sour beers, knowing their history, production methods, and intended flavor profiles can cultivate respect for the craft and skill behind them.

Beer offers a rich tapestry of depth, history, and artistry within every bottle, can and keg. WSET courses allow you to delve deeper into the nuances of each brew and expand your understanding of this vast beverage world. To all beer enthusiasts, take this chance to elevate your appreciation and knowledge. 



Cancellations of confirmed in-person course enrollments and workshops are accepted up to 60 days before the start of the course. An administration fee of $50 plus the full cost of the study materials and exam fees will be deducted, and the remainder of the course fee refunded to the payee. Separate WSET exam cancellation/transfer rules apply.
Transfers of a confirmed enrollment to another course are accepted 60 days before the course start date with an administration fee of $50.

Cancellations less than 60 days before the in-person course start date or course no shows forfeit any refund/transfer options unless students can provide medical documentation. If medical documentation is provided, students can be transferred to a later course. No refunds will be applied.

Course Transfers cannot be carried forward to the next academic year (which commenced on January 1).

Students are highly encouraged to purchase separate travel insurance.

You've got this!

Flamingo Hotel Las Vegas

Your WSET Level 3 exam will take place on

February 12, 2023 at 10:00 AM (Pacific)


3555 Las Vegas Blvd

Las Vegas, NV 89109


You've got this!

Mariott Santa Ynez

Your WSET Level 3 exam will take place on

April 23, 2023 at 10:00 AM (Pacific)


555 McMurray Road

Buelton, CA 93427


You've got this!

Art Hotel Denver

Your WSET Level 3 exam will take place on

March 5, 2023 at 10:00 AM (Mountain)


1201 Broadway

Denver, CO 80203


You've got this!

Aloft Nashville

Your WSET Level 3 exam will take place on

February 12, 2023 at 10:00 AM (Central)


1719 West End Ave.

Nashville, TN 37203


You've got this!

Epicurean Hotel

Your WSET Level 3 exam will take place on

March 19, 2023 at 10:00 AM (Eastern)


1207 S Howard Ave,

Tampa, FL 33606


You've got this!

Street View of HQ

Your WSET Level 3 exam will take place on

January 22, 2023 at 10:00 AM (Pacific)


2501 Oak Street

Napa, CA 94559