I’ve had friends over for beer tastings and encourage basic note taking. I usually get the question of “How do I taste beer?” My response is to just go with it, taste what you taste, don’t get outside of yourself and just enjoy yourself. It’s not a test, there’s no wrong answer, but some times people want more. Thankfully, there are people smarter than I (quite a few in fact) to help out with this sort of thing.
Charlie Papazian posted this today and I think it’s a great resource for anyone looking to give beer tasting a serious try. He breaks down the basics of what you’re looking for. After that, it’s just a matter of drinking more beer and tuning your craft.