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Suggestions for a Brand New Beer Drinker

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by ohyayitstrey, May 17, 2013.

  1. I'm 23 and used to be straight edge (teetotaler, for those uneducated). I decided I grew out of it and I really want to try some great beers. We've got a liquor store in town that has a pretty great selection of craft beers.
    I've only had a Sea Dog Wild Blueberry Wheat Ale.
    I've got a Maudite Amber and Narwhal Imperial Stout on deck.
    I have zero clue of what to look for or what I like in beers. If you all would like to give me some direction, I would really appreciate it. Recommendations for a specific beer that is a good representative of a more general category of beers will probably be most useful to me right now.
    Thanks y'all, looking forward to the suggestions.
    TheGator321 and KS1297 like this.
  2. If you find a beer you like, look it up on this site. You can click on the style to get a list of other beers of the same style, and then you can click on "View the most popular:" to get some good ideas to try. Also visit SeekABrew to figure out what is available in your area.
  3. TheBrewo

    TheBrewo Advocate (645) Michigan Nov 11, 2010

    We started out by getting anything and everything that looked or sounded remotely interesting, looked up the styles, and started comparing. It all comes with time and variety.
    VonZipper, KS1297, JxExM and 3 others like this.
  4. pick a style
    search for the top beers in that style
    drink
    pick a different style
    etc
  5. I'd suggest going to local brewpubs and getting a sampler flight. It's a lot cheaper than buying a full bottle of each beer, and it'll give you an idea of what sorts of things you like and dislike. And, if you don't like one of the samples, you've "wasted" only a couple ounces, not a whole beer. Or, if you can buy mix-a-sixers, that'll help increase your variety, too.
  6. agree! great ways to try beers.
  7. RyanCave

    RyanCave Savant (475) Oregon Apr 13, 2011

    I think this is the most effective way to go about this. You'll get exposure for sure, but you'll also get a good understanding of the different styles.

    Or you can do a mix of all these suggestions, all of them great!

    Welcome to the wonderful world of beer my friend!
  8. I too started out by trying whatever I could get my hands on that caught my eye or sounded interesting (or was recommended). Try a lot of things and when you find a style you like, seek out more of that style. The ratings here are a good place to get ideas for things to try but don't let them limit you. If you see something interesting in a style you like go for it without caring about the BA score (assuming the price is not exceptional).

    If you have a good beer store by you, ask the folks there for any recommendations and seek out beers by local breweries (not sure what you have in OK or I'd offer some recommendations). If you find one you like, take a trip if they offer tastings/tours. You'll get to sample stuff you might not otherwise.
    dianimal and rocdoc1 like this.
  9. I started with Belgians-style ales and wheat beers. I wasn't ready to be hop-bombed right of the bat. Give Goose Island Matilda, Fin du Monde, Allagash White, and Weihenstephaner a try. As far as IPAs go, Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA made me a convert.
  10. If you want to venture into the swimming pool of hops via the shallow end, try a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Should be an easy find, and crazy drinkable. A perfect gateway to craft beer.
  11. rocdoc1

    rocdoc1 Savant (380) New Mexico Jan 13, 2006

    In Oklahoma I'd start with local stuff like Choc, Coop Aleworks, Marshall, and Prairie Artisanal beers. These 4 breweries will provide you with a wide variety of high quality fresh beer. Then after you decide which ones you like and don't like look for beers that are similar.
    I generally disagree with most people here about looking at the ratings-don't let other people's tastes dictate what beer you try. It's easy to get caught up in the hype about particulars beers and think you have to try them, but only you can decide what suits you best.
  12. beergod1

    beergod1 Savant (410) Ohio May 2, 2009

    just because you dislike a style doesnt mean give up on it. took me 10 yrs to really like real hoppy brews....hell..its taken 13 yrs to like sours.
    JimKal and dianimal like this.
  13. Duesler

    Duesler Savant (310) Connecticut Oct 30, 2012

    This and Sam Adams Boston Lager
    Tidesox28 and HawkIPA like this.
  14. I would just try as many different beers as possible. When I was first starting out, I would do mix-a-sixes just about every week. I made sure to try all the different styles. I "blind bought" a lot of beers, so no research at all. It was fun even if I bought the occasional turd.

    That being said, here's my recommendation for beers for someone just starting out:

    Sam Adams Boston Lager
    Victory Headwaters Pale Ale
    Troegs Dreamweaver Wheat
    Lagunitas IPA
    Sierra Nevada Stout
    JrGtr and Duesler like this.
  15. Angst

    Angst Aficionado (185) California Nov 8, 2007

    Exactly. I used to not like stouts then I had The Abyss by Deschutes. Now I love stouts! My favorite style. Narwhal is great btw. Also, one of the other valuable things I learned was temperature of beer. Some beers are better cold some are better warmer. I've had some beers that tasted very muted cold but delicious as they warmed up. There's a lot of good advice posted above. Follow that and you'll be ok. Lastly, I'll list some beers that played a big role in my craft beer journey.
    Chimay (Any)
    St. Bernardus ABT
    Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
    Alesmith (Any)
  16. You may be well served to find a beer store that does "mix a six". You can try 6 beers for 10-12 bucks.
  17. Cboat

    Cboat Aficionado (115) California Jun 6, 2012

    Yea, it's all a timing thing. Gotta just go out and taste. Sierra Nevada Pale ale is a good place to start as it is super affordable and accessible, if that's not your style, there are plenty of German Beers and Belgian beers to try as an introductory style and from there expand. There are beers I loved when I started drinking that I think are pedestrian now and vise versa. Taste everything and let your tongue guide you to becoming Hoplessly devoted to beer!
    phooky likes this.
  18. Rohkey

    Rohkey Savant (350) Michigan Jan 13, 2013

    What kind of drinks/foods do you like now? There was a thread a while back that talked about the transition people made from beers, and it was interesting that you could almost predict the evolution of someone's taste/preferences by what they liked before they got into beer. Coffee drinker? Try some porters and stouts. Like lemonade (or even Mike's Hard, etc.)? Try fruit beers or wheat beers. Smoke weed or drink tee? Might want to try some particular IPA/double IPAs. Like hard liquor? Try some bourbon-aged stuff, etc. Like the typical BMC (Bud, Miller, etc) stuff? Try some pilsners, German lagers, and such. Generally what happens is that one will try some stuff that is somewhat familiar to other types of things they like, and then branch out a bit...and you'll find yourself liking what you branch out into more than the 'comfort zone' stuff you first tried.

    I would suggest trying some lower alcohol beers to start. A lot of people start with hefeweizens, witbiers, and other wheat-based ales that are smooth and easy to drink. There is no shortage of good hefes out there (Paulaner, Weihenstephaner, Franziskaner, Hofbrau, Ayinger). Hoegaarden (Original White) is pretty smooth, easy to drink, and cheap witbier that you can start with. And even though most beer advocates won't recommend Leinenkugel, Summer Shandy is abundant this time of year and is a very drinkable blend of wheat beer and lemonade. If you like these things you'll probably find yourself transitioning into higher ABV Belgian beer (some of which considered to be the best beer around). You could also go the lager route, since the BMC stuff that fills the shelves of party stores are lagers...but these I know less about.

    Just so you know, craft beer in America is currently renown for producing a lot of 'hop-bombs.' That is, we are good at making IPAs and double IPAs with a lot of different hop variations. These styles (particularly double IPAs, also called imperial IPAs), though, are often very bitter and the new beer drinker may not find them to be pleasant. America also makes a lot of good porters and imperial stouts, which are also usually pretty high in ABV...some other ales that are highly rated on BA from America are quite boozy too. American Pale Ales are generally easier to drink for the newbie than IPAs/DIPAs, you could look into those if you are wanting to get into some of the best that this country has to offer.

    Lastly, I was recently at a bachelor party that had a decent mix of non-beer drinkers, new-beer drinkers, and 'beer enthusiasts.' I volunteered to bring the beer, so to satisfy everyone I bought a pretty wide array of things - and everyone found something they liked. I bought a mini keg of Oberon, a party pack of Abita, a party pack of Sam Adams, a case of Summer Shandy, a case of Paulaner Hefeweizen, a few sixers of New Belgium (Fat Tire, Abbey, Shift) and a few bombers of higher ABV stuff from my house (pretty sure I also had another case, but I can't remember what it was). It was gone pretty quick, and led to some good beer conversations.
    KS1297, ohyayitstrey and beertunes like this.
  19. One thing I don't like about sample flights in 4oz. pours is that you don't really get the chance to view the effect of temperature change by allowing the beer to breathe. I guess reflecting on appropriate temperatures is more advanced, but if you're trying to understand the makeup of the depth within beer it's something you just need to experience.
    That said: we're all making this way too complicated for the guy. I feel like a good beer bar and a few good friends goes a long way in the world. Sometimes it's how you find your wife, your best friend, your business partner, your best connection, or your favorite beer. Head out with some friends every few weeks, bond, drink draft, and never choose the same beer twice. At some point you'll start to get it.
    ohyayitstrey likes this.
  20. alucard6679

    alucard6679 Savant (250) Arizona Jul 29, 2012

    Agreed, amazing beer and very easy to sink your teeth into with a newly developing palate. I'd go for something cheap (in case you don't like it) and accessible (I wouldn't jump right into styles like imperial stouts, barleywines, or DIPAs just yet ) so i'd say something like Firestone Walker Pale 31 or Double Barrel Ale. Can't go wrong with Obsidian Stout from Deschutes for a good starting point with stouts. Odell IPA and Union Jack also from Firestone Walker) are a good introduction to IPAs IMO. Enjoy the journey no matter what you go with, and welcome to the club. Cheers : )
    ohyayitstrey likes this.
  21. baconman91

    baconman91 Savant (495) Ohio Dec 13, 2009

    Sam Adams & there (now) many different styles available..is a Great palate "trainer", is what I always tell newbies.
  22. Just buy a bunch of mixed 6 packs and experiment, that's what got me started. Sam Adams and Saranac are good intros to styles that aren't over the top.
    mychalg9 likes this.
  23. dianimal

    dianimal Savant (420) California Apr 18, 2012

    Great suggestions above, and I just want to add a couple other things:

    If you try something and do not care for it at first, try it again another day. And don't completely write off one style; some are just bad representatives. I take notes, partly because I have a terrible memory, but also so I can compare my past opinions to any future opinions. Don't be afraid to try different brews!
    RobertColianni likes this.
  24. Try a bunch of different beers of all styles.
    Whatever it is that you try, read this users reviews before and while you drink the beer. He points out what to look for and you'll discover flavors that you wouldn't have by just drinking it on your own.
    http://beeradvocate.com/user/beers?ba=BuckeyeNation
    ohyayitstrey likes this.
  25. aty11b

    aty11b Savant (250) Texas Mar 25, 2013

    I would suggest Seirra Nevada Pale Ale or weihenstephaner hefe weisbeir. If you would like to try a stout I would go with Sierra Nevada Stout or Dechutes Obsidian stout. You cant go wrong with any of the breweries I suggested. Everything they make is real solid and dont have a high abv. Great place to start in my opinion. I would stay away from IPA till you develop a taste for hoppy brews
    StoutChaser7D likes this.
  26. Depends on the brewpub. Some only offer samplers of their own beers and if their own beers are mediocre or worse, it will give you a skewed idea of what that style is like.

    I would only do samplers if the place offers beers from different breweries, or if the brewpub has above average ratings for their own beers.
    pcsnyder likes this.
  27. mychalg9

    mychalg9 Advocate (685) Illinois Apr 8, 2010

    Drink as many different beers and styles as you can. This will give you an idea of what you like and don't like, and will give you an idea of the direction you should go next. Once you find a few styles, we can help you a little easier.
  28. Hdredfern

    Hdredfern Savant (395) Texas Feb 16, 2012

    Stone and Rogue is really where I started at, and I still enjoy alot of them.
  29. frazbri

    frazbri Advocate (600) Ohio Oct 29, 2003

    I suggest a two pronged approach. When you find a beer you like try other beers of the same/similar style and different styles from the liked beer's brewery. If you like the Narwhal try more stouts and more beer from Sierra Nevada. If you like the Maudite, try more belgian style ales and more from Unibroue. etc, etc,...
    ledzeppelin4 and ohyayitstrey like this.
  30. HarmonMW

    HarmonMW Savant (425) Missouri Feb 11, 2012

    Agree with the sampler recommendation above.

    When I started I wanted to give everyone a shot and still try a lot of different styles, so I actually made it my goal to have a beer made in every state. 1.5 years later I'm still working on it, but it has definitely helped me find some "diamonds in the rough" I might have otherwise missed.
    pcsnyder likes this.
  31. Rohkey

    Rohkey Savant (350) Michigan Jan 13, 2013

    Agreed. My current favorite beers are ones I strongly disliked the first time I tried it.
  32. One thing I did when I first started getting into beer is try what I thought were classic beers from different styles. Some of these beers have been passed up by newer beers, but they’re still good and by drinking them I felt like I was creating some sort of bridge from the past into the present (as corny as that sounds).

    I think Anchor Steam Beer, Samuel Adams Boston Lager, and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale are all worth trying. These beers were important building blocks in the development of craft beer in the United States, and they hold up well today. Steam beer and Vienna lagers aren’t that common, but trying SNPA is a good way to see if you like American pale ales (and the profile of American hops).

    Some other classics:
    Chimay red/Premiere/dubbel, white/Cinq Cents/triple, and blue/Grande Reserve/Belgian strong dark ale (Maybe not the best Trappist/abbey style beers, but all solid and easy to find. By trying the red I learned that I love dubbels.)
    Dogfish Head 60 Minute and 90 Minute IPAs
    Duvel (Belgian pale ale)
    Fuller’s ESB
    Fuller’s London Pride (English pale ale)
    Hoegaarden (witbier)
    Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout (their porter is also a classic)

    I’ll refrain from making recommendations for the German and Czech styles because I don’t know enough about them.
  33. Ericl2

    Ericl2 Aficionado (105) Indiana Apr 25, 2013

    Also...enjoy your beer. Some beers are made for chugging....and some are made for sipping.
  34. Geez, what I tell people that drink the BMC beers that are thinking about branching out is simply don't. Don't get me wrong, beer culture is great, I have lots of friends who share my love of craft beer, but I sometimes long for the days when a 30 pack was perfectly satisfying (and crazy affordable). Now I genuinely choose what restaurant I go to by their beer selection and think of nothing of driving 30 miles out of my way to drop $15 on a single bottle of Parabola. If you can find joy in a 30 pack of Coors Light, by all means, go for it.

    Should you wisely avoid my advice, Harpoon IPA, Sierra Nevada PA and Dogfish Head 60 Minute are pretty good entry level beers if you're leaning towards hops.
    BigJimSlade likes this.
  35. Don't go for extremes like imperial stouts, dipa, or sours, they need to be eased into. Things like La Finde Du Monde or Duvel are easy transitions
    Vitacca likes this.
  36. Go big, Stone Ruination and Sierra Nevada Narwhal Imperial stout.
  37. Find a store that sells singles and try everything.
    ohyayitstrey likes this.
  38. Dude...great first choices!

    Lets start with what you've tried. Sea dog also has a good raspberry beer. Try some other fruit beers. Lost Coast Tangerine Wheat is one of my favorites. Also, DFH Festina Peche is good. Samual Smith also has good fruit ales out now, as well as ciders.

    Also try wheat beers, a.k.a. Hefeweizens. You'll probably love those too. Wit or white beers are also light, with great flavor. The Belgian Wits are the best.

    Try everything. But if your doing a comparison stay with like styles.

    Cheers!
  39. Not at all!
    But seriously, thanks for all the feedback, I'm very excited to jump into all this.
    alucard6679 and frazbri like this.

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