Many craft beer-focused bars and restaurants offer beer tasting flights -- a lineup of smaller glasses of different beers -- and whether you're a beer aficionado or new to the craft beer world, they are a great way to experience a variety of different beers and discover new favorites. And they can be a cost-effect way to train your palate to recognize the differences between similar brews.
While it can be daunting to pick a cohesive lineup of beers from a list of a dozen or more taps, there are a few methods you can employ to get the most of your order. While more common to wine tasting, horizontal and vertical flights (a collection of varieties from a single producer or area or several vintages of the same type of wine, respectively) are also available in the craft beer world. Vertical flights are a great way to experience the way a beer can change when properly cellared, but they are more rare and usually reserved for special events. Finding several beers from a single brewery on tap is more common, and it's a great way to get a feel for a brewery's character.
Selecting a few beers of the same style from different breweries -- all porters, or a selection of L.A.'s Best IPAs for example -- is a low-risk way to get to know a style you might not be familiar with. Of course, just picking a lineup of beers that sound good at the moment is always a good idea, and ordering a couple brews you know you'll enjoy and a couple of beers you haven't tried is a safe way to experiment.