The beers that made you the drinker you are now

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by guinness77, Oct 22, 2018.

  1. guinness77

    guinness77 Meyvn (1,277) Jan 6, 2014 New York

    I was having this conversation with a couple of customers at my bar the other night and figured it would be a good topic here. What are those “cornerstone” beers you drank at one point in your life that made you really wonder where beer can take you and really made you explore your taste buds and expand your palette even more? I’m sure the answer will be different for many people depending on how old you are or when you started drinking but we all got to this point one way or the other, right?

    1) Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. This wasn’t the first pale ale or ipa, even, that I ever drank but I’ll always remember the first time I had it. I was either 18 or 19 and it was ‘96 and...I hated it. It felt like I was drinking a Christmas tree. Just so much pine. I had never tasted anything like it before. I sense a lot of people would pick this one, and as you might guess, I grew to love it. My “gateway” beer of some sorts.

    2) Aecht Schlenkerla Marzen. I’ll never forget the first time I smelled this beer. I was in my early 20s when a buddy who worked at a shop with an extensive imported selection insisted I drink this. It smelled like a campfire, baked beans, smoked sausage. I was like “what the fuck is this?” Now, I was already familiar with hefes, dopplebocks, and dunkels but I figure, no way am I gonna like this. Well...I freaking loved it from the first sip. It really made me wonder what else, beer wise, I could possibly like.

    3) Founders Breakfast Stout. Now, I could easily pick Brooklyn Chocolate Stout or Sammy Smith Oatmeal Stout (hell, I could pick any Sam Smith beer as a beer influence in my life) as the stout that made expand from the Guinness’ and Murphy’s of the world but FBS is the one that really did me in. It literally tasted like a chocolate covered oatmeal cookie dipped in coffee. It had such richness and complexity to it. The coffee bitterness rounded out the flavors so much. I wanted to bathe in it. It’s still one of my favorites. It pretty much introduced me to the world of adjuncts and all the stouts I drink now. A legend of a beer imho.

    4) Maine Lunch. This is the ipa that truly fucked me up. I couldn’t believe that flavor I got the first times I drank it. That citrusy dank that really tastes so fucking good. And, not only that, but it was soft, it still had just the right bitterness. Still enough pine to keep you happy. It was the first ipa I had that if I scored beers here, I would have given it all 5s. It’s kinda sad now because unless I find it on tap (rare), I don’t quite seem to adore it the way I used to (thank you hazy NEIPAs) but this beer was my precursor to all the Other Half, Grimm, Sand City I drink now. The other thing Lunch did to me was convince me $7 or $8 wasn’t too much money for 1 beer. I literally couldn’t have enough of this beer back 5 years ago.

    I definitely have other beers that have wowed me or influenced me but these are my 4. I’ve also had plenty of crappy beer and liquor too but that’s for another conversation. What say you, BA?
  2. Ceddd99

    Ceddd99 Initiate (161) May 14, 2018 Michigan

    Sam Adams Octoberfest and Goose Island Honker's ale are the two most memorable beers for me. Sam Adams Octoberfest was the first non american adjunct lager that I tried and actually liked back in 2006. I had no real conception of what good beer was before trying this, because while I may have tried a couple of imports and craft beers prior the flavor profiles did not appeal to me so I saw no reason to spend extra money on beer. The vast majority of craft beer in the USA I actually don't like as I am not a big fan of IPAs, APAs, wheat beers, beers with a very high ABV or beers with excessive roasty/coffee/chocolate types flavors. That eliminates quite a lot of American craft beer right there. But Sam Adams Octoberfest showed me how amazing beer can be and that good beer was worth the extra cost and effort to seek out.

    Trying several craft beers after that the next one that stood out for me was Honker's ale and to this day in a broad sense these two styes remain by far my favorite - malty German lagers and English style ales.
    #2 Ceddd99, Oct 22, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2018
  3. Shanex

    Shanex Meyvn (1,474) Dec 10, 2015 France
    Moderator Society Trader

    Great thread OP.

    From my European perspective, I could name a couple Belgians. Of course I’ve had all the crappy French Lager/AAL (Kronenbourg) right in my late teen like American teens enjoy Budweiser.

    Leffe was the first beer that appealed to me. It’s very cheap here in sixer, 12 pack or even case.

    However I got into Belgian ‘craft’ later on and this changed my life as a beer advocate. Delirium, Duvel, Chouffe are all affordable for a young man who makes even a small living.

    Later on the Quads like St B. 12 and Rochefort 10 blew me away.

    Got into American craft only three years ago when joining BA but that’s another discussion.

  4. bubseymour

    bubseymour Poo-Bah (2,577) Oct 30, 2010 Maryland

    Samuel Smith Russian Imperial Stout - dark beer could be different than Guinness?
    Rodenbach Grand Cru - WTF is this funky aroma and sour taste?
    Hill Farmstead - both the wild funky saisons and their assortment of hoppy ales....just didn't realize beers could be made on this level of greatness
  5. rtrasr

    rtrasr Disciple (313) Feb 16, 2009 Arkansas

    Sam Adams Boston Lager
    Boulevard Pale Ale
    Boulevard Wheat
    Shiner Bock

    These beers started me on craft beer.
  6. Amendm

    Amendm Defender (639) Jun 7, 2018 Rhode Island

    When I joined the craft beer movement five years ago it was the big breweries that 1st got my attention; Stone, Founders, Lagunitas, etc. mostly IPAs and Pale Ales.
    This lead to exploring Brown, Red and Black Ales, which lead to exploring smaller/local breweries and the plethora of available styles.
  7. rudiecantfail

    rudiecantfail Defender (666) Aug 9, 2011 Pennsylvania

    The beers that had a strong influence on me, as far as drinking craft goes, are important to me for different reasons. In the '90s, SNPA let me know that there was something else out there besides crap. In the '00s, Victory Golden Monkey was an otherwordly thing the first time I just bought it randomly and it's a local. My neck of the woods has a great craft base. In the '10s, BCBS introduced me to what barrel aged greatness can be.
  8. 0osurob6

    0osurob6 Initiate (15) Oct 4, 2018 Texas

    Second the Boulevard Wheat. Still has a special place in my heart...I should pick up a six pack soon. :slight_smile:

    The other that got me back into craft beer was Goose Island Bourbon County Stout. Absolutely blew me away.
  9. jvgoor3786

    jvgoor3786 Poo-Bah (1,738) May 28, 2015 Arkansas
    Society Trader

    I was looking at this giant shelf of large format beers, having no idea what they were. Each visit I bought one at the recommendation of the clerk. The first one was the one that really opened my eyes. It was Brooklyn Local 2. I remember being amazed at the flavor and mouthfeel. I actually haven't had that beer since, but I need to pick it up. The next week I tried Oomegang Three Philosophers. I love quads to this day and still consider that one of the best. Next I had Boulevard Tank 7. Also a beer I love today. I just noticed all three of those beers have numbers in the names. Hmmmm... Anyway, those three beers opened my eyes to possibilities beyond the Sam Adams seasonal pack.

    As far as IPAs go, I couldn't drink them, including one of the best beers on the planet - Two Hearted, until I tried Sweetwater IPA. I was shocked by the grapefruit juice flavor. That was a gateway beer for sure.
  10. Harrison8

    Harrison8 Poo-Bah (3,838) Dec 6, 2015 Missouri
    Society Trader

    A few beers come to mind when it comes to my current palate.

    1. Coopersmith's Watermelon Ale. My second time drinking and I was out to eat with my family at a long standing brewpub in Fort Collins, Colorado. I ordered a few samples not really wanting a full beer, and really didn't enjoy any of them until I had this. It was the first alcoholic drink I somewhat enjoyed.

    2. New Belgium's La Folie. Later that day after our disc golf session got rained out I found myself out New Belgium for a tour with two friends. Walking into the foedre room was awe-inspiring, and so were the samples in that room. Both before and after this room we had IPAs and pale ales, things I didn't really care for, but in this room we got both a pre-aged sample of La Folie and that year's blend of La Folie. Both remained my self-proclaimed highlights for the tour. I've kept a bottle of La Folie in my cellar ever since out of tribute.

    3. Mikkeller's Beer Geek Breakfast/Boulevard's Imperial Stout X Coffee Ale (Feb. '15 release). Both of these beers have a very special spot in my heart. It was the school semester after trying Coopersmith's and New Belgium, and I picked up these two coffee beers to be consumed sometime during the school year. For both occasions, I visited the local butcher to buy some fresh, thick-cut bacon, and cooked that with scrambled eggs and pancakes and served my coffee beer to compliment it. With my coffee taste budding the year or two prior, finding something that replicated that well in the beer world was critical to grab my attention. I still chase coffee beers for no reason other than wanting to try more.

    4. Goose Island's Bourbon County Brand Stout (aged 1 year). This came as an extra in my first trade on here and I was ecstatic, having failed to setup a handful of trades for it leading up to that. I chilled it and served it one Sunday. I recall pouring half of the 12oz bottle into my glass and sitting in the recliner, slowly sipping through that half for an hour. It was a sunny Sunday, sitting right besides the windows. TV and music off, just beer. The second half of that bottle disappeared a little quicker. It was my first foray into what aging beer could do, and just how thick and chewy a beer could truly be. It remains one of my favorite beer experiences in all respects, both due to the kindness of a BA member (who doesn't seem to come around anymore...), and how hyper focused I was on that one beer drinking session. I try not to take things for granted, but I still haven't had a beer memory that euphoric that since.
    #10 Harrison8, Oct 22, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2018
  11. thebeers

    thebeers Poo-Bah (2,824) Sep 10, 2014 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    Great thread idea. Here are some standouts in my personal drinking history...

    Labatts Blue. Pretty quickly after I started drinking, I wanted something more flavorful than Bud and MGD. A friend turned me onto Labatts Blue.

    Sam Adams. There were a bunch of beers after that that I’d opt for instead of a Light Beer or AAL, including Pete’s Wicked Ale and Dundee’s Honey Brown. I didn’t love them, but liked them a lot more than the other options. Among the best were Boston Lager and the Sam Adams seasonals. I still enjoy Boston Lager in particular.

    Bar Harbor Real Ale. By the late 90s and into the early 2000s, I was jonsing for malty beers. In Maine, I most often drank Bar Harbor Real Ale (and occasionally Cadillac Mountain Stout). When I moved to Philly, it was Brooklyn Brown with the occasional Flying Fish Abbey Dubbel.

    Victory Hop Devil. The first “WOW” beer I remember clearly (there was a nut brown ale in the 90s I remember drinking, but could never find again and have since lost the name of) was Hop Devil. That, Stoudts APA and Troegs HopBack Amber went on my regular rotation for a good long while.

    Nodding Head Berliner Weiss. My first sour was another “WOW” beer I remember clearly, and it led me to searching out more back before they were everywhere and before I ever thought to use the Internet to look for beer recommendations.

    Other shout outs go to Trumer Pils, Rodenbach Grand Cru, Founders Breakfast Stout and BCBS, all of which had big impressions on me and led me to search out more.

    I was trying to think of there was a “WOW” moment for me with NEIPAs, and there really wasn’t. It took a while for them to grow on me.
  12. seakayak

    seakayak Defender (676) May 20, 2007 Massachusetts

    Someone gave me a Duvel, and it really opened my eyes to what was possible. Before that it was all Molson Canadian, LaBatt's Blue, Bass Ale, and Harp Lager - and I was never satisfied. I found the BA Beers of Fame list, and here was my first real craft beer haul:

  13. mkh012

    mkh012 Crusader (724) May 7, 2015 Colorado

    Wheat beers got me into craft, both hefes and wits. Franziskaner Hefe, Weihen Hefe, Allagash White, Hoegarden. To this day, Weihen Hefe is my only 5/5 on here.

    Then from there, because I liked German and Belgian beers, I started trying bigger beers like Rochefort 10.

    Then Pliny the Elder and Tired Hands Alien Church, both on tap at Monk's Cafe in Philly, launched my love of hoppy beers. Those weren't the first IPAs I had, but within the first 20ish, and they changed my perception of the style. Before then I almost never ordered IPAs.
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  14. Ahonky

    Ahonky Initiate (157) Feb 13, 2018 New York

    I'll just state the pivotal beers in my lifetime:

    Michelob: my very first beer at the ripe old age of 8. I still find it to be a good beer

    Dinkel Acker Pils: My Uncle Louie would get the mini-kegs on special occasions for family backyard barbecues. I remember it being a wonderful counter to sausage and peppers. I miss that beer and I miss my uncle

    McEwans Scotch Ale: A favorite of my paternal grandfather. We never shared one together, as I was too young, but my father and I shared them on a few Thanksgivings back in the day. I miss this beer and I miss my dad.

    Hofbrua Original: This is probably the first beer I bought on the regular after my Budweiser teen years. It was recommended to me by a funny Indian man who owned a beer shop in Franklin Square NY. He closed shop in like 1995 and the store remains empty every since.

    John Courage Amber: Aside from Bass, which I did like q great deal back in the day, this was my intro to British beer. Not sure if it is a good pale ale, but I felt cool drinking it at my friend's father's basement pub listening to Syd Barrett

    Samuel Adams Boston Lager: A massive game-changer for me. I remember the first time I had it on tap in 1991. I had about 5 pints in that sitting. It was a snowy day and my friend's older brother was the bartender. Smoking cigarettes and drinking BL on a snowy day. I miss cigarettes and I still love Boston Lager.

    Victory Hop Wallop: My intro into west coast hops. The beer I believe went through many changes, but when I first started drinking it all I could imagine was grapefruit. This beer led to me being overweight for a short time. I also suffered many hangovers.

    Aecht Schlenkerla Marzen: Like many of us here, this beer, especially the first one, was a real blast of flavor. I loved it from first sip. No acquiring of taste required. I still treat myself to one of these a few times I year. I wish it were more affordable. This beer also brought me back to German beer roots.
  15. guinness77

    guinness77 Meyvn (1,277) Jan 6, 2014 New York

    Was it this one?
    I remember also being a big fan of that beer. I didn’t realize Sam Adams made it until way after I had had it and it was already retired.

    Love the Victory shouts by a few of you. DirtWolf was also a beer I couldn’t drink enough of when it first came out. Hop Devil and Hop Wallop were both great too. I don’t why they stopped making it, but Yakima Glory was my favorite beer for a minute too.
  16. Ahonky

    Ahonky Initiate (157) Feb 13, 2018 New York

    Yakima Glory was the best dark IPA for my tastes. That was a great era for Victory. They have lost their way some in recent years.
    guinness77 likes this.
  17. guinness77

    guinness77 Meyvn (1,277) Jan 6, 2014 New York

    Yeah, I have to agree with you completely there. I love your list by the way. I’m probably about 20 minutes east of you and about the same age. We probably did a lot of the same shit at the same time, haha
  18. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,381) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Society Trader

    Yep - echoing others here: great thread. Beers change and tastes change. Hard to narrow it down, but here's a stab at it.

    Beck's - This was "my beer" when US craft was in it's 90s swing and the beer aisle started looking really weird.

    Schlenkerla Marzen - Having this in Bamberg is what made me actually start to spend real money in those weird looking beer aisles. The beer that opened the floodgates.

    Reissdorf Kolsch - This felt like the beer that most pale lager wished it could be.

    Black Sheep Riggwelter & Coniston Bluebird Bitter - These were a pair for me and they really flicked a switch that made me think about the whole package: producers, sellers, food pairings, consistency, serving, contests, ingredients, styles, beer writing, etc.

    Saison Dupont - Unlike the above, one that had to grow on me, but the best relationships are the ones that grow over time.

    The entire Pretty Things portfolio - I can't narrow this down to one beer in their portfolio, but this is also a perfect way to include my only "craft beer" choice since doing so is a reflection of the craft culture. When I first started paying real attention to US craft brewers, I remember looking at their portfolio and thinking to myself, "Why do they have two saisons... do they need two different saisons?" It's an unthinkable question now. This brand put a personal face on a company and highlighted beer design and process in a new way that clicked with me. Too bad they're gone.
  19. Ahonky

    Ahonky Initiate (157) Feb 13, 2018 New York

    Yes, we experienced life on both sides of both the digital and beer revolution. It's a good perspective to have on life (and beer). Keeps you from being ridiculous :grin:
    #19 Ahonky, Oct 22, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2018
  20. slangtruth

    slangtruth Initiate (124) Jan 8, 2012 Kentucky

    In the 1970s, first Schlitz and then Pabst made me the daily drinker I am today.
  21. CaptainHate

    CaptainHate Savant (959) Apr 22, 2006 Ohio

    Ommegang's Hennepin Ale was a natural fit for my palate. Before that, craft brews like Arrogant Bastard and Pete's Wicked Ale were such shocks to my AAL conditioning that it took a while to get used to them. But Hennepin tasted like nectar from the get go and was the perfect style for me. I felt similarly the first time I had a marzen/Oktoberfest a real long time ago (my father gave me one in the 60s) but I have no memory of who made it.

    Founders Breakfast Stout. I had a really bad first experience with stouts. In my hometown of Laurel, Maryland, in a small shopping area close to where I lived an Irish pizza joint, Delaney's, opened and had Guinness on tap. My beer drinking buddy and I went there, ordered a pizza and a pitcher of Guinness. Our AAL tastebuds were not ready for the Irish assault and thought it tasted like hot garbage. That effectively ruined me for stouts for forty fucking years until a couple years ago when I jumped into the Founders pool. It tasted heavenly and I've done my best to make up for lost time since then.
  22. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,318) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    My discovery of craft beer was sometime in the early 1990’s. I have no recollection of the year I had the below list of beers first but needless to say it was sometime after they were first brewed:

    Stoudt’s Gold: first brewed in 1987. This beer is a Munich Helles and the first time I had it, it was an eye opener. By today’s standards this beer is likely considered to be a ‘mellow’ beer but for me, at that time, it was a beer that had a lot of ‘punch’ and I enjoyed drinking those beers.

    Sam Adams Boston Lager: first brewed in 1985. This beer was first contract brewed in my home state of PA – Pittsburgh Brewing Co. This beer was quite hoppy and bold for my palate at the time I first started drinking it.

    Brooklyn Lager: first brewed in 1988. This beer was very similar in terms of my enjoyment with Sam Adams Boston Lager. There was a Mexican cantina near me that would serve this beer on draft in 22 ounce Pilsner glasses for just a few bucks for happy hour. I recall that those beers would often have a never notable hop aroma and I really enjoyed that aspect of the beer.

    My discovery of good beer accelerated in the 1990s since I was traveling quite a bit to Europe for business with most of my trips being to England. I fell in love with the cask ales of England. I came to the conclusion that in order to drink those sorts of beers at home I would need to make them myself. My first beer that I brewed was an English Bitter Ale and it turned out great. Not too longe thereafter I discovered:

    Yards ESA: first brewed in 1995. This beer is an English Bitter/Pale Ale and it was served on cask (hand pump) at select bars in Philadelphia. When my bottles of homebrewed Bitter Ale ran out I would travel into Philly to get my Bitter Ale fix.

    I think this story would be remiss if it did not include something about IPA:

    Victory Hop Devil: first brewed in 1996. I do not know the first year I had Hop Devil but that first drinking experience was a “wow” event. That beer had a ton of hop bitterness and hop flavor for my palate at that time.

    Yup, the 1990’s were a great time for beer drinking. Today’s beer scene is even better!

    #22 JackHorzempa, Oct 22, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2018
  23. CaptainHate

    CaptainHate Savant (959) Apr 22, 2006 Ohio

    Damn, I forgot about this one. I remember the first time I found out it wasn't brewed any more; it was like finding out my dog died.
  24. Ahonky

    Ahonky Initiate (157) Feb 13, 2018 New York

    They brought it back to NY distro several years ago...but I guess the demand was not there, and I never saw a replenishment.
  25. CaptainHate

    CaptainHate Savant (959) Apr 22, 2006 Ohio

    Founders has picked up the slack with Dirty and Backwoods Bastards but McKewans was the gateway for me.
  26. Ahonky

    Ahonky Initiate (157) Feb 13, 2018 New York

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  27. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,381) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Society Trader

    It's one of those brands that's bounced around with ownership changes. If I remember this correctly: When it made it's return to the US some years ago, this was due to it being bought by Wells & Young's... but it has since been sold to Marston's. I would suspect that any current stock in the US dates back to the Wells & Young's days... but I have no idea what the current status of the beer is.
  28. Ahonky

    Ahonky Initiate (157) Feb 13, 2018 New York

    Funny, because when it came back to NY, I also remember Old Peculiar being on the shelves again. I believe that is Martson's beer, isn't it?

    Both are gone.
  29. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,381) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Society Trader

    Theakston. Perhaps the same importer at the time. Don't know.
  30. Ahonky

    Ahonky Initiate (157) Feb 13, 2018 New York

    Oh right. My memory doesn't really serve me well anyway. Those could have been years apart. Needless to say, getting English beer in cans/bottles in NY is not easy. I miss Tetleys a great deal and still buy Old Speckled Hen Nitro when I see it. All Samuel Smith bottles in my store are from 2017. Anyway. That's that
    zid likes this.
  31. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (2,019) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina

    Back in the day Michelob was a very desired beer, but at that age we rarely had the funds to buy 6ers. If there was a bar that had it in tap word would get around and it would get hammered. I talking a goblet of beer for 25 cents.

    Lowenbrau when it was an import was always a step ahead, about the same time frame as above.

    It was AAL time for maybe 20 years a variety of beers seeing how low I could go in price until you found the beers Undrinkable. Beers like Gibbons, Reading and the like was $4 a case for 16 oz returnable bottles.

    This turn to better beers started with Fullers. Id buy mixed cases for a great price. That phase lasted a bit too. Supplemented by Batemans and Bluebird, Double Diamond.

    One day along came a Hop Devil, and that beer really wowed me. Then Stone IPA, Two Hearted, Dogfish Head 60.

    Then one day along came a fresh Hopslam, and that beer opened my eyes to a fruity massive dipa that was just stunning. I know everyone wigs out about this, but I do truly believe they changed the reciepe. It went from stunning to just an overly sweetish malty beer.

    To today it's primarily IPAs/ Pils/ Stouts in the winter. So many great beers out there, the last 2-3 years has been an explosion.
  32. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,913) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    BALLANTINE XXX ALE and INDIA PALE ALE - grew up in a Ballantine and Schaefer drinking household, so I always knew there was a difference in US ales and light lagers, and knew I liked hops.

    Underage drinking tended to be whatever we could get (primarily Bud, Rolling Rock and Black Label for whatever reason) but once "legal" I continued my investigation into US ales and was pretty unsatisfied (when I first came across Genesee Cream Ale in upstate NY, I liked it but it wasn't "ALE" as I knew it - even their commercials admitted as much) until I moved to New England in the early '70s and found the other Falstaff-brewed ales like Croft and Pickwick.

    Not easy to find when I lived in Los Angeles a few years later (even wrote the brewery for their So. CA distributors' names) but I bought Rainier Ale whenever I found it. Ditto for first finding Yuengling's Lord Chestefield Ale while driving through NEPA. Soon after, Rheingold started bottling (and, later, canning) McSorley's Ale - which previously had been draught-only (since the 50s, I guess) and pretty rare to find.

    - Was never too impressed with most US "dark" beers (mostly draught) or the few bocks I'd find (Schaefer, Ballantine [Falstaff], Pabst) until I came across Schmidt's version of PDD - at the time, still relatively cheap and sold in US stubby bottles.

    (A few years later, they "upgraded" the brand - putting it in fancy new bottles and 4 (Four? WTF!) packs AND fancy new price! :astonished: IIRC it was getting close to----- a DOLLAR per BOTTLE! ).

    ANCHOR STEAM BEER - I think I had some bottled previously (NJ was one of their first east coast markets) but mid-70s lived in CA and visited friends in San Francisco and had my first draught, in some restaurant overlooking the bay (or ocean? Water was involved) when my friend's future wife and I went out for a "nice" lunch.

    So, as other "craft" beers hit the shelves, I was ready for them (usually knew about them well ahead of time thanks to reading Zymurgy and other early "beer" publications).

    BASS ALE - Sure I'd tried most commonly available Euro lagers and Canadian ales by the early 70s but I met this young woman* in a local club one night and she was drinking a bottle of Bass Ale - maybe I'd seen it on the shelves but never bought one (maybe the "imported" price scared me off?). I bet a bottle at that bar that night went for $1 --- or more!*

    "Wanna try it?"
    "Sure." Wow. Totally different than any US or Canadian ale I'd tried up until then. (And, quite different than the later dumbed down version of Bass exported to the US by the 1990s...).

    * Turned out she was underage, too. I later figured she was ordering Bass because it would seem unlikely a 17-year old would.
    #32 jesskidden, Oct 22, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2018
  33. thebeers

    thebeers Poo-Bah (2,824) Sep 10, 2014 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    Damn! That’s quite the haul.

    You reminded me, too, of how much Bass Ale I used to drink.
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  34. thebeers

    thebeers Poo-Bah (2,824) Sep 10, 2014 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    The only thing I remember about the nut brown ale that wowed me in the 90s was that it was from Canada.


    I forgot about Yards ESA, too! Maybe it was just me, but it seemed like for at least a couple years ESBs were the trendy thing in brewing.
  35. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,669) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    These aren't necessarily firsts, but rather beers that became regulars in my rotation, as well as became benchmarks of sorts for me.

    Dinker-Acker Pilsner
    We didn't understand hops at the time, but knew we loved this beer with vibrancy and quite a bite to it.

    Aass Bock/Taddy Porter
    So much more depth of malt and complexity than the usual Euro Darks I was drinking.

    Lindemans Gueuze
    Not the first Lambic I had (that was the Peche), but this is where I "got it" about what the wild yeast can do.

    Celebration Ale
    All my hoppy homebrews were modeled after it- timeless flavor profile.

    Rauchenfels Steinlager
    Such incredible malt character behind the smoke, from the caramelization on the hot rocks. Opened me up to smoked beers in general.
  36. Alefflicted

    Alefflicted Initiate (98) Dec 2, 2017 Minnesota

    I thought beer was just shitty liquid only good for beer pong until my bro offered me an Ayinger when he got back from the service. Wow was that an eye opening experience, my love affair with German beer began that day.

    Then when I lived out in Washington I tried Mac and Jacks and loved their stuff, I drank them and German beer almost exclusively while I was out west.

    When I moved back home to Minnesota the first beer I ordered was a Two Hearted Ale and I was in love, then I bought a bottle of Tripel Karmeliet (ironically at the store in which I now work) and was again blown away. After that the flood gates have been open and they won't close again till I'm dead. Now I realize beer is beautiful, and I try literally everything I can get my hands on. Honestly my liver might be one of the hardest working organs in the world.
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  37. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,318) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Flying Fish ESB was a popular beer for a few years (it was first brewed in 1996). That beer is no longer brewed.

    Yards ESA is now no longer bottled; it is available solely on draft and cask.

    Maybe if they used the three letters of "IPA" on the beer labels these beers would sell better?:grimacing:

    Bitterbill and thebeers like this.
  38. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Champion (886) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    I remember drinking it when it was brewery only. Very cool beer, that.

    Franziskaner Hefe was a big one with me.

    Ommegang's beers were a big influence for me. Awesome price point back in the early 2000s, as well.

    The beers that stand out for me that helped me make the transition between a casual craft beer drinker to a full on beer nerd?

    Here are the highlights, but there are more

    Unibroue's Don de Dieu, La Fin du Monde, Maudite, and La Terrible.

    Chimay White, Red, and Blue

    Great Divide Hercules, Yeti, and Old Ruffian

    Stone Ruination, Arrogant Bastard, IRS, and Old Guardian

    All of the beers from Avery, DFH, and Midnight Sun

    Flying Dog, when it was brewed in Denver

    Alaskan Smoked Porter
  39. dcotom

    dcotom Poo-Bah (2,334) Aug 4, 2014 Iowa
    Society Trader

    Alaskan Smoked Porter I received one of these as a gift back in the late '90's. It was in a class by itself, especially when paired with fresh-caught and fresh-smoked salmon from Ekuk that was prepared during my visit to the village in 1998.
    Even More Jesus. I never figured that drinking motor oil could be such an eye-opening experience.
    Deschutes Fresh Squeezed. This is the one that started me down the road to depravity as an incorrigible hop junkie.
    Rochefort 10. This is the first beer I ever rated at 5's across the board. Simply enlightening.
  40. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,381) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Society Trader

    There's a certain imperfect symmetry here.