The beers that made you the drinker you are now

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

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  1. SudsDoctor

    SudsDoctor Maven (1,463) Nov 23, 2008 New York

    Cut my beer teeth in college ('81-'85) with imports from Canada (Molson's, Moosehead) and Europe (Heineken, Beck's, Grölsch and Löwenbräu - still an import then...I think). Then I spent 20+ years just dabbling sporadically with various other imports (Bass, Amstel) and early craft (SA Boston Lager). I'd have to say the first brews that sparked my beer awakening were DFH 90 Minute and Paulaner Salvator. Both were the 'biggest' beers I'd had to date and were truly eye openers.
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  2. pro100

    pro100 Zealot (531) Oct 12, 2014 California

    Sam Adam's Boston Lager
    Red Hook ESB

    -I grew up in Fresno, Ca. and one of the first craft breweries in the state was a brewery called 'Butterfields' in Fresno.. I even read an article not to long ago where the founders of Firestone Walker said they used to go to Butterfields to learn-take notes on what they were doing before they even started their own brewery up. I used to go there after work quite often way back in the day. This was my first dive into craft beer
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  3. Sound_Explorer

    Sound_Explorer Pooh-Bah (2,608) Dec 29, 2013 Washington

    It took a while, but a few did grip me back in my college years, 2006-08:

    New Belgium 1554, Abbey, Tripel, 2 Below - were my primary gateway beers. Really anything New Belgium back in the day.

    Hoegaarden Wit

    Moose Drool by Big Sky Brewing

    No other "craft" ones I can remember distinctly but I was in college and poor so New Belgium was treating myself when I would have them. I did do a few macros/"cheap beer":

    Killian's Irish Red

    All of these stick out to me back then. Thankfully a local restaurant had a 99 beers thing so I got to try quite a few. Didn't finish it though. Have been back a couple times and chuckle at the list now but still think back fondly.
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  4. donspublic

    donspublic Grand Pooh-Bah (3,356) Aug 4, 2014 Texas
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    I just avoid using the word craft because it is so abused and pretty much worthless no days
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  5. jesskidden

    jesskidden Pooh-Bah (2,969) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    Nope, by 1977 the Löwenbräu (or maybe I should just write it - Lowenbrau :grin:) sold in the US was the adjunct (corn grits), non-kräusened version brewed by Miller.
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  6. NYRunner

    NYRunner Crusader (408) Nov 5, 2018 New York

    Back in the Day, I drank mostly Coors Light or Heineken Light, because they were the lightest AALs and I drank them very cold. Jump forward to the early-90s, we were at a "cool" place on the Lower East Side - can't' imagine what I was doing there - and a friend gave me a draft Hoegaarden and said, basically, "try this, it's really good." Then I tried Leffe. Then a Sam Summer. And the rest is history.
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  7. jesskidden

    jesskidden Pooh-Bah (2,969) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    Heineken Light didn't hit the US market until 2005 and, AFAIK it's always been an all-malt beer. (The regular Heineken exported to the US dropped the use of their corn adjunct sometime in the 1990s, some claim, in part, because of negative comments in the press by Jim Koch's Boston Beer Co.). Heineken's US Importer Van Munching and successor, Heineken USA, did bring in the Heineken-owned and brewed Amstel Light before that.

    (Sorry. I know, I know - I'm always ruining people's memories. :grimacing: It's a bad habit, but there are worse...).
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  8. SudsDoctor

    SudsDoctor Maven (1,463) Nov 23, 2008 New York

    Damn, I was actually too young to have ever had the good stuff. :disappointed :wink:
  9. LifesAnesthesia

    LifesAnesthesia Maven (1,381) Dec 17, 2014 Virginia

    Boston Lager was my first foray into craft - it really opened up my eyes to the craft beer world. Stone's Ruination and Enjoy by series really exposed me to the intensity that hops could bring. And everything exploded from there.
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  10. The_Kriek_Freak

    The_Kriek_Freak Grand Pooh-Bah (4,271) Aug 18, 2014 Pennsylvania
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    I went to college and grad school in Britain but at the time I didn't drink hardly at all (which is an achievement in itself because like I said I was in the UK where even my professors would declare without an ounce of shame that they "are getting pissed tonight"). I did drink beer from time to time but it was limited to cheap imports or faux imports like Cobra, Tiger or Brahma. I used to think that Bud and Magner's Cider were the pinnacle of sophistication and I knew absolutely nothing about traditional British ales.

    Soon after graduating and moving to Chicago I had my first encounter with Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. I remember taking a sip and then doing a double take on the bottle. What is this? Why does it taste so good? I know that this beer was the gateway for a lot of people in here.

    I started drinking "mainstream" quasi-craft beer for a while (Leinenkugel products were a favorite) but without putting too much thought in it or knowing much about how to select beers. For the longest time I thought I hated DIPAs but this was simply because I had no idea that freshness mattered and kept buying old dusty bottles of it (probably because they were on sale). This went on for a while, until I finally got to try some fresh examples and I never looked back.

    Jester King El Cedro was a huge eye-opener for me regarding farmhouse ales and a gateway to all things funky and Belgian (it’s funny how a Texan beer did that). Funnily enough, it was another Texan beer that made me realize how delicious IPAs can be and that was Cedar Creek Dankasaurus. I came across a super fresh can of it and I was lost for words with its flavor and aroma.

    Tired Hands Alien Church (in its early form) was the beer that turned me into a haze-bro... I am finally growing out of my haze craze phase (please ignore the fact that the last 25 beers I have posted on WAYDN are Tree House and Equilibrium hazebombs). I have started to appreciate some more old-school IPAs (Kane Head High being a favorite) and even starting to appreciate some darker beers (Tree House Catharsis and Nightshift Awake being gateways in these categories). I still have trouble appreciating stouts though, especially imperialized versions. My palate cannot handle the onslaught.
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  11. SoCalBeerIdiot

    SoCalBeerIdiot Pooh-Bah (1,995) Mar 10, 2013 California
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    I drank nothing but AAL/pilsners in my high school and college days. Keystone Light was my fraternity's “official” beverage of choice, lol. Probably because it was mostly water and guaranteed no “bitter beer face” (remember that?!?). It sucked.

    I moved to CA right after college and pretty much stopped drinking beer. I was just as likely to have a glass of wine or a soda as I was a beer if we went out to eat and I rarely ever had beer in the fridge.

    That lasted a few years until an employee of mine turned me on to Blue Moon. I'd never tried it before and was blown away by the flavor. This all seems hilarious now (I haven't had a Blue Moon in years) but that was the beer that got me back into beer. From there, I started exploring imports and “crafty” beers and found BA.

    Flash forward a year or so. Pale ales are my new thing (Widmer's . I'm barely getting into IPAs. Then one day I stumbled upon Stone's Enjoy By IPA. It was limit one at my local liquor store. I'd never seen that before so I was intrigued and bought one. I blew me away. I felt like I'd never had a fresh IPA before then and immediately I was a fan of IPAs. This is when I went FULLY down the rabbit hole that is craft beer and pretty much stopped drinking “crafty” brews and imports altogether (except for freebies and sporting events, etc.) in lieu of craft beer and only craft beer.

    At that point, I'm branching out more. Exploring stouts and porters and deciding I don't like Belgian styles (other than lambic and saisons). I'd had a sample of sour beer once or twice but didn't get the appeal. Then I attended my first LA Beer Week opening gala (the last one held in Union Station) where I tried the Bruery's Oude Tart with Cherries. The flavors just amazed me. Boom! I'm a fan of sours and started exploring as many as possible.

    Attended my first bottle share shortly thereafter. I tried Black Tuesday for the first time and WAS NOT a fan. Syrupy sweet. Soy sauce-like consistency. Yuck! “I must not like BBA stouts,” I thought. I was wrong. I attended LA Beer Week's opening gala the year that Bottle Logic debuted b1 of Fundamental Observation. It was a timed release and I remember seeing the description and thinking, “Anything aged in 4 different barrels sounds special and I should probably try it even if it's not a style I like.” It was the only line I stood in all day and it was worth it. The beer was AMAZING. From that point on, I was a big fan of BBA stouts. (now if it's not barrel-aged, it's boring, lol)

    For a long time, I was all IPAs, BA stouts, and sours. Then hazies came along. Took me a while to get into them. I think it was a Tree House that got me exploring them more. But just as I started to tire of them, it seemed like they were taking over everywhere. This made me run the other direction and fall back in love with West Coast IPAs.

    Now, finding really good WCIPA is a bit tougher (yeah, I know it's still everywhere but I don't accept just any WCIPA) so I've had to supplement the clear beer in my fridge by diving into lagers. Highland Park's Timbo Pils showed me that not all pilsners have to taste the same and I found myself warming to them all over again.

    Nowadays, my fridge is mostly IPAs (WCIPA for me and hazy for the wife), BA stouts/barleywines, sours (I'm actually getting burned out on these), and lager. Lots and lots of lager lately. Funny how it all came back to where it started.
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  12. Oh_Dark_Star

    Oh_Dark_Star Initiate (0) Mar 4, 2015 Washington

    Grew up with miller highlife, bud, coors, and while these still do it for everyone in my region of the midwest and even many seasoned BA's to this day - it was all swill to me but I drank it. My first Singha was a hmmm a little different... so that I'd say was my gateway.

    Moved to Washington state and thought all IPA were skunky strange bitter nastiness, eventually more simcoe made it's rounds and I eventually fell in love with the pine - It might have been Fremont interurban that turned me.

    I will also give Fremont the credit with BBOMB for my infatuation with BBA stouts. Several trades and travels since then and some trys continue to blow me away.

    Most recently I had a Gose collaboration between a salsa company and Three Magnets called Jose Gose!. Life changing.
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  13. piggy_rulz

    piggy_rulz Initiate (0) Dec 4, 2019 Missouri

    Beer in general. During my youth, brother/coworkers over serving me Old Style at Wrigley.

    Craft Beer. 2008 Tampa Publix 60 Minute IPA. Oh, so that’s what it can be. 2009 spring fresh Avery Maharajah. Oh, that’s what it IS.

    signals get crossed, and the balance distorted, by internal incoherence

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  14. socon67

    socon67 Grand Pooh-Bah (3,479) Jun 18, 2010 New York

    When I started enjoying "micro Brews" in the early 90's, Rogue Dead Guy Ale, Paulaner Salvador Double Bock, and Dundee's Honey Brown Lager were the mainstays when I could find them (Sam Adams Boston Lager when that was perhaps the only non BMC option). Heading to Jekyll & Hyde's in the village of NYC allowed me to sample their "Beers from Around the World" and understand that all beer did not look/small/taste the same.
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  15. barrybeerdog

    barrybeerdog Zealot (745) Aug 17, 2012 South Dakota

    Lowenbrau dark & then it was on to Pete's Wicked Ale....the craft search continues 40 yrs later!
  16. b33rb3lly

    b33rb3lly Initiate (0) Oct 9, 2005 New Jersey

    Sam Adams Boston Lager

    45 years ago:
    Ballentine (My Mother & Aunt worked at the Newark, NJ brewery for years)

    Honorable mention:
    Lowenbrau (Back when it was actually from Germany!)
    Bass Ale
    Molson XXX
    Yuengling (My usual every day drinker nowadays)
    #216 b33rb3lly, Jan 16, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2020
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  17. beerluvr

    beerluvr Pooh-Bah (1,764) Jan 2, 2001 Canada (ON)
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    Oh man it was old school stuff available to me in the mid-to-late 80's when I really discovered good beers...Pilsner Urquell, Charles Wells Bombardier Ale, Andeker, Prior Double Dark, Tolly Ale, Hansa Pilsner, Monchshof Lager, Theakston Old Peculiar, The Samuel Smith range, Erlanger, Stroh's Signature, Christian Moerlein, Ballantine IPA, Molson Golden Ale, Lord Chesterfield Ale, Pottsville Porter, Whitbread Ale, Mackeson Milk Stout and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale all fed my quest for better beer and made me the beer-obsessed guy I still am in 2020 :beers:
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  18. Mister_Faucher

    Mister_Faucher Initiate (0) Dec 3, 2014 Washington

    As a kid my pops would feed me a Rainier or Coors on fish and chips night. I then moved on to Canadian adjuncts, then on to Euro pale ales in late HS and college, then a bunch of other European offerings after that for a long time. THEN spent the last 5 or so years on IPAs and DIPAs. Now bored of the IPA thing so where I go... I don't know.
  19. PNW

    PNW Initiate (0) Dec 23, 2019 Washington

    Allagash White & Deschutes Abyss
  20. mikeg67

    mikeg67 Pooh-Bah (1,949) Nov 12, 2010 New Jersey

    1998. I tried Boston Lager on tap somewhere in Boston.
    I could not drink macro after that.
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  21. Sludgeman

    Sludgeman Grand Pooh-Bah (3,120) Aug 17, 2012 District of Columbia
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    Tupper’s Hop Pocket and Spanish Peaks Black Dog Ale.
  22. jkrich

    jkrich Pooh-Bah (1,842) Nov 1, 2001 Florida
    Pooh-Bah Society

    Way back in the early 1990s, I began to build a better appreciation of beer with Samuel Adams's Boston Ale, and a little later Great Lakes Brewing's Dortmunder Gold.
  23. mogulskier

    mogulskier Initiate (0) Feb 3, 2019 California

    Me too. Although California, not Massachusetts. But yeah, could never go back to Budweiser which is what I was drinking before I had my first taste of Boston Lager. Took off from there.

    Then I was drinking Lagunitas IPA and really liked Little Sumpin Sumpin.

    Really got into stouts and barrel aged beers after trying Stone's IRS.
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  24. ToddSoonerFan

    ToddSoonerFan Initiate (0) Aug 23, 2013 Iowa

    Early 90's. Pete's Wicked, and Pete's Wicked Strawberry Blonde. Then in the 2000 ish SN Torpedo and I found the citrus/pineapple flavor i was craving in a beer.
  25. rgordon

    rgordon Pooh-Bah (2,605) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    Schlitz, Red Cap, National Premium, Andeker, Encore, Lowenbrau, Rheingold, Watneys, and my all time favorite, Young's Oatmeal Stout. And a couple of journeys to Europe.
  26. Rainintheface

    Rainintheface Maven (1,315) Apr 30, 2007 Florida

    Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and the original release of Sam Adams Boston Lager began my journey.
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  27. nc41

    nc41 Initiate (0) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina

    The first Hopslam I had many many years ago made me an IPA fiend for a few years, it was all I drank. As far as beer goes it was life altering, before that I was basically drinking German beers and English Bitters or Porters.
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  28. zeff80

    zeff80 Grand High Pooh-Bah (7,379) Feb 6, 2006 Missouri

    Early on it was Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat and Pale Ale. They taught me that Michelob Amber Bock wasn't the greatest beer ever. Fitger's El Nino was the first IPA that punched me in the face with hops. I did not like it at first. Great Divide Yeti and all 3 Chimay varieties are the beers that challenged me and convinced me to try everything.
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  29. nc41

    nc41 Initiate (0) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina

    Back when Sam Adams first came on the market I thought it was too bitter. It was compared to Rolling Rock.
  30. zeff80

    zeff80 Grand High Pooh-Bah (7,379) Feb 6, 2006 Missouri

    Oh yeah. I drank a lot of Rolling Rock and Moosehead and thought I was a high-class beer drinker compared to my friends drinking Miller Lite. Then Boulevard and New Belgium changed all that for me.
  31. Sheppard

    Sheppard Grand Pooh-Bah (3,030) Mar 16, 2013 Massachusetts
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    Enjoy By probably did more to make me the freshness whore I am today than any other beer.
  32. Eefinn

    Eefinn Initiate (0) Oct 19, 2019 Vermont

    Long Trail Double Bag was a big one early in my drinking career. The sketchy gas stations that didn't check ID always had bombers of that for only a few bucks, so my friends and I would get them pretty frequently. I've always been a bigger guy, so it was nice to get something that tasted good, and I didn't have to drink eight of to get a buzz.

    When I was in college in Pennsylvania, a friend shared some Victory Golden Monkey with me, and that really rocked my world. I didn't know beer could taste like that, and that flavor is still what comes to mind first when I think of Belgian beer. Now that I'm thinking about these beers, I guess I'll be making a stop on my way home from work.
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  33. rgordon

    rgordon Pooh-Bah (2,605) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    I bought one six pack at about that time. I knew then and there that Miller's version of Lowenbrau was a load of crap. Munich Lowenbrau is a great beer.
  34. JayORear

    JayORear Grand Pooh-Bah (3,012) Feb 22, 2012 Pennsylvania
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    Anchor Steam: the first beer I bought when I was of legal age, and I still love it. Tasted considerably better than the Bud and High Life I'd drunk in high school.

    Speakeasy Big Daddy IPA: the first IPA I ever had, and it wowed me with its bitterness.

    Racer 5: Tried this after Big Daddy and realized that an IPA can be both bitter and complex.

    Pliny the Elder: this, or course, was the ultimate step after the previous two, the WCIPA that still has no equal for me, fifteen years later.

    Heady Topper: completely wowed me with its taste profile, and it wows me still. First had it six years ago, and nothing has blown my mind in quite the same way since.
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  35. Warwick7

    Warwick7 Initiate (0) May 25, 2019 Maryland

    Mackeson Stout: Full of flavor and heavy for 4.9%. That is a huge stament as ive had Ales in the same alc percentage that tasted like water. Its rich of English heritage and is at a great price compared to other English Stouts. Malt forward Ales up to 4.9% and at a good price are rare gems but this Ale is Showing me how special they are. It taught me the best Ale can be drunk at almost any temputure. Have fond memories of drinking it coming home from latin mass in a gorgoues gothic church.
  36. LittleGus

    LittleGus Crusader (440) Mar 13, 2008 Minnesota

    In high school (early 80s) I would occasionally drink Lowenbrau dark. Still a macro, but different than the other beers I was drinking at the time. At that point Moosehead and Molson were exotic imports (I thought the green bottle skunk taste was a feature, not a bug). In college, mid-late 80s, I started drinking Leinenkugel Bock, and in the late 80s-early 90s I was introduced to Summit Extra Pale Ale, which is still a favorite of mine.
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  37. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Grand Pooh-Bah (3,142) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    Given this one some though....
    A shoulder tapped bottle of sunshine wheat at a local punk show really stood out to my nihilistic teenage brain. My stepdad kept a fridge full of microbrews that I would steal from as well. I found myself taking the microbrews over the Miller lite for ABV, but they tasted better as well. After a stint at straightedge sobriety I jumped back in with fat tire and made a point of drinking all the locals I could find. In my journey I ran into this site, and traded for some cool stuff. I was able to try heady topper thanks to a very gracious beer advocate and it changed my thoughts on the IPA, and really opened my eyes to hops. Juicy and red swingline both made me appreciate yeast and hop interactions as well.
    Thanks @tacosandbeer and @MEW for sharing some great beers with this guy.
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  38. 19etz55

    19etz55 Savant (1,200) Aug 12, 2007 New Jersey

    Anchor Steam
    Pete's Wicked Ale

    These are some of the first craft beers I ever tried.
    A good start and paved my way to really great beer!
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  39. spersichilli

    spersichilli Initiate (0) Apr 26, 2018 California

    Heady Topper
    Sip of Sunshine
    DDH Melcher St (back in 2018 when it was still good.)
    Founders CBS (2017)
    Bourbon Paradise
    Maple Bacon Coffee Porter
    DDH Double Mosaic Dream
    BA Fudge Bucket with Vanilla

    For reference, I'm 24 years old, I started really seeking out "special" beers 2 years ago. I was drinking SNPA in my dorm room as a freshman, and was fortunate to have a family place in vermont at the time so those were my first intros to craft beer. Early 2018 I went to trillium the first time and also had CBS and bourbon paradise for the first time. Those stouts and MBCP were what got me into big flavorful stouts. Was fortunate to go to Other Half mid 2018, and went up to Angry Chair for my first release a little after that. Pretty much hooked on chasing "rare" beers at that point
  40. MacMalt

    MacMalt Grand High Pooh-Bah (6,246) Jan 28, 2015 New Jersey
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    I drank a lot of beer when I was young: Molson, Moosehead, Heineken, and in college lots and lots of Genny Cream and Mickeys Mean Green. When I "grew up" I switched to wine and drank it for many years with beer only occasionally. The beer most responsible for converting me to craft was Founders Porter. It led me to Dirty Bastard and Double Trouble and the rest, they say, is history.
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