What is a Beer Flight?
Three to Eight beers make up a flight of beers.
Written by CraftJack | Updated | 5 min read
How big a flight of beers is up to both you and the brewery serving you. As to the flight glasses, they typically hold 3-5oz of beer. They're a great size for the average taster.
The primary benefit of ordering a beer flight is to sample a variety of the beers available at the brewery. It's somewhat impractical to order 4-5 beers in one short sitting, though we're not saying you can't. Ordering a flight de-risks a bad choice. How many times have you ordered a single beer and didn't like it? Probably once or twice, right?
Well, ordering a flight of beers will (should?) result in at least 1-2 samples working out for you.
The key to making a good beer flight is to have a theme in mind. Maybe that theme is to try all of the IPAs of that brewery. Or, maybe it's to pick one beer from each style. A DIY beer flight is super fun to create.
Some breweries like to create sets or pairings if you will for their flights, kind of like how they do it for wine tasting events. They do know how their beer pairs best after all.
Putting together a list of different beers is never easy, especially when you have a favorite beer or beer style that you always get. If you want to put together a beer tasting party at home, you could go from the lightest to the darkest, go all Belgian or Pilsner only, or go Lagers vs Ales. In short, you could put together a beer flight tray in an infinite number of ways.
You don't even need a wooden paddle or your own home's basement brewpub/taproom. You could put together some beer flight fun with a few beer tasting glasses
- IPA Beer Flight: India Pale Ale, Double IPA, Triple IPA, New England IPA
- Oktoberfest Flight: Marzen, Festbier, Schwarzbier, Rauchbier
Kelsey Chesterfield of the Craft Beer Club suggests that you should not do these things when ordering a flight of beers. Apparently there are unwritten rules? I guess now we know.
- Order Blindly
- Tasting out of Sequence
- Chug It
- Hold up the Line
- Not try a beer because it's too light or too dark
So, we'd like to weigh in on this. We think that ordering blindly is the whole point of a tasting flight. If you order what you already know, where is the room for growth? That said, we see her point when it comes to pre-selected flights from the brewers. In that circumstance, it's good to learn more about why they paired those beers together.
That also applies to sequence. Hard to know what order to drink them in unless you're told by a cicerone, beertender, or the brewer themself. Doubly true when you're ordering beers shot from the hip. We do agree on not chugging the beer, that's not the point of a 3-5oz sampler glass. We also agree on points 4 & 5, never hold up the line, and never not try a beer.
There are some concerns that beer lovers have around ordering a beer flight set, something about not getting the proper experience, but we aren't concerned about that. Using music as an example, you can like a song, but not the band's whole catalog. Same goes for genre of music. Beer flights are the mixtape of breweries, they help you discover new favorite types of beer. They're also great for sampling high ABV beers without needing to drink it all if it's too much.
The South Jersey Beer Scene suggests that a flight of beers is called a flight because it follows the secondary definition of the word flight. Merriam-Webster claims that a flight is, "a group of similar beings or objects flying through the air together"
You can buy beer flight paddles on Amazon, Etsy, Walmart and more.
A growler is a glass jug that contains a half gallon of beer (64oz). As we've discussed, a flight is a group of 3-8 beers in small beer glasses (typically 3-5oz). In order to have a flight the size of a growler, you'd need to have approximately 16 small 4oz pours worth.
You could order a New York Beer Flight in Maryland from Etsy.
3-5oz, depending on the actual size of the tasting glass.
At your local brewery. There are approximately 9,000+ craft breweries in the United States alone. A fair share of them serving flights of beer. Some are pre-determined, but most you choose your own samples for.
Moby Dick Brewing. Moby Dick is a brewery in Massachusetts (New Bedford). Their paddles are Whale's Tails. So, yeah, it's not even close, they have the best paddles.