What was your gateway craft beer?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by not2quick, Jul 25, 2016.

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  1. chuckm

    chuckm Initiate (182) Feb 7, 2007 Indiana

    For me the ones that started it were either Anchor Steam back in the early eighties or a few of the Point beers. Another early one was Blue Hen back in the early Nineties
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  2. MisterGopher

    MisterGopher Initiate (56) Nov 23, 2013 Florida

    They have it everywhere in Montreal.
  3. RobGanaro

    RobGanaro Initiate (31) Apr 15, 2015 New York

    Mine too!
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  4. Zak44

    Zak44 Initiate (22) Jul 5, 2004 New Jersey

    Sam Adams Double Bock. (It was a while ago.)
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  5. emalc

    emalc Devotee (475) Jan 5, 2008 Michigan

    Mackeson XXX Stout was the a-ha moment....
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  6. evanlamarr88

    evanlamarr88 Initiate (33) May 9, 2018 Florida

    My first beer was a craft beer - a Shiner grapefruit Hefeweizen - so I’ve never had a change-over moment. I’ve never really drink Big Beer as a habit, and for that, I’m grateful! I think the beer that really opened my eyes to what beer could be was the first time I had a Belgian Tripel - I believe it was Chimay. That really impressed me with it’s simultaneous level of drinkability and flavor, and it will likely always be my favorite style of beer.
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  7. brewdawg9

    brewdawg9 Disciple (381) Apr 17, 2008 Oregon

    Probably Sam Adams Boston Lager. Moved to Massachusetts from Florida in early '87, and thought I'd try a 6pk of something "local", so I picked up some Sam Adams Boston Lager after work one day. I HATED it!! lol. This was nothing like my beloved PBRs'!! Fast forward 2 years I find myself back in Florida and a new "bar" was opening next to where I worked, and they advertised something like 32-36 taps. Unheard of at the time, especially in FLORIDA. Anyhow, I saw Sam Adams Boston Lager on tap the first time I visited, and decided I should give it a second chance, and "boy howdy" I'm glad I did! I went in every afternoon (almost) after that and tried beers like Double Diamond, Watney's Cream Ale, and any and everything else they had on tap. I'd indulge in 2-3 pints, and catch the bus home. I was hooked.
    In the coming years since, I've learned to "homebrew", and I'm always trying new beers. Even today, I tried Elysian's Def Leopard Pale Ale, which was quite good. I've got alot of work in the form of tasting / trying new beers these days, as I've left the heat & humidity of Florida long ago, and now reside in the beautiful and very beery State of Oregon, just an hour from Portland. In fact, tomorrow I will be visiting the newest monastery brewery in Mount Angel, Oregon that was reviewed in the latest issue of BA. You can't imagine how "spoiled" I am these days when it comes to beer. Cheers!!
  8. GratefulBeerGuy

    GratefulBeerGuy Poo-Bah (3,089) May 20, 2006 New Hampshire
    Society Trader

    1. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. 1998.( I was 20) A friend brought it with us to a large hippie-style gathering in The Northeast Kindom of Vermont. ....from there my biggest influences, the beer that kept me exploring was:
    2. Sam Adams ...they had such a great variety of style, it was easy to get a grasp of what I really liked.
    3. Magic Hat. The art work on the labels drew me in.
    Sam Smith blew my mind with it's quality. And so it goes....
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  9. Jwale73

    Jwale73 Poo-Bah (4,764) Aug 15, 2007 Rhode Island
    Society Trader

    Drank a lot of Newcastle Brown in the early 90s, graduated to Saranac, Magic Hat and Guinness, but Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout is what got me to the site and the rest is history.
  10. kevleyski

    kevleyski Initiate (19) Nov 8, 2014 Australia

    I’m going to say Timothy Taylor Ram Tam might have been the first - had it as a student and maybe 100,000 pints later still go with real ale if I can find it
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  11. wawagrin

    wawagrin Initiate (37) Jun 17, 2016 Oregon

    Sprecher Black Bavarian. It was the 80's in Milwaukee and out of nowhere this very Germanic-looking label started showing up in the local beer coolers. Up until then about the closest I got to thinking about craft & beer was getting excited whenever Huber (Minhas) released their "bock" each year--hey, cheap beer with flavor & body! This Sprecher stuff was something else, though--and then came their maibock, their doppelbock...

    One day I noticed their gryphon logo on an industrial chimney and realized the brewery was within walking distance of my house. Remember going down there to pick up a keg for a party and being greeted by Randy himself, who had a stein going at his desk (it was a Friday afternoon...) but took a break to show us around. Struck me as the coolest job in the world, and probably still does.
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  12. webbedtoes

    webbedtoes Disciple (323) Nov 1, 2014 Oregon

    Red Hook and Black Hook, fresh from the tap at the McMenamins' first taproom, the venerable Barley Mill Pub. It didn't hurt that I lived ACROSS THE STREET! Those were the first actual craft beers I experienced, but Euro imports had already stretched my palate for several years: Watney's and McTarnahan's especially.
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  13. webbedtoes

    webbedtoes Disciple (323) Nov 1, 2014 Oregon

    Oh! And of course Tooth's Sheaf Stout.
  14. vabeerguy

    vabeerguy Poo-Bah (3,112) Sep 21, 2015 Virginia
    Society Trader

    SweetWater 420
  15. MisterGopher

    MisterGopher Initiate (56) Nov 23, 2013 Florida

    For me it was Hacker-Pschorr Hefe Weisse. Met some German guys while in college in the early 80's and they turned me on to a German place on campus that had $1 Hacker-Pschorr night once a week. Went there for $1 beer and came out a changed man.

    That was the first beer I'd ever seen that wasn't your typical American pale lager. I was shocked at the different visual appearance and flavor profile. As a broke college guy I stuck to the Hacker-Pschorr that night, but this started my exploration of beer styles and my quest to try everything unusual I could find.
    Weinerdog43, Squire and TongoRad like this.
  16. hophugger

    hophugger Poo-Bah (2,322) Mar 5, 2014 Virginia

    Not a great beer....but....a friend of mine included a Trader Joses Dark in a present and it got me interested. My first IPA(which is my favorite style) was Hoppyum by Foothills brewing
  17. smmlab

    smmlab Initiate (89) Oct 13, 2007 Oklahoma

    I g(th)rew up in St. Louis on Anheuser-Busch products. Then, I went to college in the late 80s-early 90s in Columbia, MO and discovered Boulevard's Bully Porter. KC had it goin on!
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  18. Jsteez

    Jsteez Zealot (546) Apr 28, 2012 Utah

    Junior year of college 2004. I was sick of pounding Natty Light, Rolling Rock, & Corona. I randomly bought some local Squatters American Wheat...I was like "damn, this is fresh!" From that point I went to Blue Moon, Sam Adams Lager, and a local favorite from home: Roosters Chocolate Stout.
    A couple of years later, my first IPA experience: SN Torpedo Extra IPA. Hop bombed!
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  19. Meghan_12

    Meghan_12 Initiate (41) Jul 6, 2016 Connecticut

    When studying abroad in South Africa, beer was sometimes cheaper than water. Up until that point, I had only tried Budweiser so I thought all beer was along the lines of watered down cat pee. As a broke college kid, I ended up with the cheaper option which was beer. The main beers were Black Label and Castle. Needless to say, after six months, I had developed a taste for beer. When I got back to New York, where campus is, I started experimenting with the different local beers. I think the first American craft beer I really took a liking to was Magic Hat #6.
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  20. Navalartichoke

    Navalartichoke Aspirant (248) Nov 12, 2010 Virginia

    It was 1995 and I was in Boston for business and for dinner we stopped at a pub in
    Faneuil Marketplace. My co workers said lets have a pitcher of something called Eye-Pee A, from a brewery named Harpoon. I tried my first IPA and fell in love from that moment. Next day we stopped at a micro brewery, my first, called John Harvard , and I was hoked.
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  21. HammG

    HammG Initiate (47) Jul 14, 2016 Florida

    Alesmith Speedway Stout, San Diego, CA, was the beer that did 'it' for me!
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  22. rustyjaw

    rustyjaw Initiate (55) Jul 16, 2017 California

    For me, back in the mid 80s, it was Spaten that first showed me the light. Especially Franziskaner, which I still hold in high esteem many decades later.

    From there, growing up on the west coast, Sierra Nevada Pale and Anchor Steam were revelations.

    A little later, some local micro-breweries appeared, namely Golden Gate, St Stan’s, North Coast, Mendocino Brewing, and of course Anderson Valley.

    Some astute readers might notice that Russian River is missing from my list. I did actually try Pliny shortly after it came out. But, by that time I had already grown tired of the West Coast (although I didn’t know that as a genre) style Pale and IPA. So Pliny fell on deaf taste buds.

    And although I can’t prove it, I suspect the recipe for Pliny has been updated for the fresh-hop renaissance that has happened over the last 10 years. It was this focus on fresh hops and also the advent of NEIPA that brought me back into the IPA fold.
    #422 rustyjaw, Sep 27, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2018
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  23. MonkeyStrawHat

    MonkeyStrawHat Initiate (48) May 10, 2014 Canada (BC)

    Was drinking regular pub tied house stuff. Then someone said there’s a pub called Crown & Sceptre near Hemel selling real ale.
    Had some Greene King Abbot Ale. Kept returning.
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  24. vette2006c5r

    vette2006c5r Poo-Bah (3,575) Oct 14, 2009 Minnesota

    I was a newly minted 21 year old, and hated beer. I hated the flavor of all the big brands. One night while shooting pool, my friend handed me a dogfish head 60 minute, and I was hooked. I wanted to try more of these "small brands," and try out all the different styles out there.
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  25. GimmeAGuinness

    GimmeAGuinness Defender (605) Sep 1, 2005 Massachusetts
    Fest Crew Society

    Geary's back in the late 80's, when they were still pretty new. I also got a taste for Anchor Steam around that time, though I don't know if you could've counted them as "craft."
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  26. Taxonomist

    Taxonomist Initiate (41) Jul 26, 2015 Oregon

    Occidental Brewing's Dunkel showed me how good a malty beer could be. I have not looked back.
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  27. h4ger

    h4ger Devotee (484) Feb 5, 2011 Connecticut

    Celebrator & Molson Brador were the first rare intro's to 'higher' ABV but Pete's Wicked Ale and Wicked Red started me down the road to craft ... then came Sam Adams, Anchor, Sierra Nevada...from there the doors were blown wide open
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  28. BattleRoadBrewer

    BattleRoadBrewer Defender (608) Oct 8, 2005 Massachusetts

    Hop Rod Rye, given to me by a friend shocked that I thought Steel Reserve was a "good beer". About a year after having that Hop Rod Rye--which triggered an insatiable craving for craft beer I hadn't known was there--I started homebrewing.
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  29. Bjohn789

    Bjohn789 Disciple (355) Oct 27, 2010 Pennsylvania

    Dogfishead Raison D’etre. So good and so strong. Unfortunately they haven’t brewed it again in years.
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  30. marcgoldstein

    marcgoldstein Initiate (0) Feb 6, 2018

    On a bike trip through Utah and Colorado in the summer of 1986 I had a Boulder Beer. It was an amber ale (I think) and I really enjoyed it. Then at home in Massachusetts shortly after that Sam Adams Boston Lager and Harpoon were introduced and were pretty easy to get so I started drinking those. Then the first beer revolution hit in the late 1980s and early 1990s and I was hooked. Haven't had a mass produced adjunct beer since then.
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  31. jwmoore

    jwmoore Initiate (186) Aug 30, 2006 Iowa

    I had been enjoying red and brown ales for awhile. It was Rogues Dead Guy Ale that blew me away and allowed for transition to IPA's , Porters and Stouts. I haven't had a Dead Guy Ale in more than a decade, so I don't even know if I would still like it.
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  32. phishgator

    phishgator Defender (651) Jul 1, 2005 Florida

    As like Jason mine was Sam Smith Oatmeal Stout @ the Salty Dog in Gainesville. Me and a fellow classmate had 2 hours between classes. She made the suggestion to head over and grab a beer or two. I had tried quite a few non-mainstream beer by then, 1995, but that one started my journey!
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  33. SundayMorninCominDown

    SundayMorninCominDown Initiate (70) Aug 4, 2015 Wisconsin

  34. kentdecook

    kentdecook Initiate (16) Sep 4, 2017 Minnesota

    It was one of the ales at Sherlock's Home in Minnesota. Great place in my memory. Bill Burdick, I think, was the proprietor, along with his wife. Wonderful British pub....
  35. jmatarese

    jmatarese Initiate (15) May 5, 2018 Kentucky

    The gateway was San Miguel Dark. No kidding. Straight outta the Philippines. It was January, 1985 at a geophysics field camp in Panamint Valley, CA. The middle of nowhere, just west of Death Valley.). Bought it at the lone package store. It just seemed so radical at that time and place. Up until that point I liked beer for the buzz but hated the taste of it. (I remember my dad giving me a sip of Budweiser at 10, and I thought it was completely disgusting. Still do.) I lived in Boston in the late 80s and a friend told me to check out Marty's Liquors in Allston/Brighton and Newton MA. The next four beers I discovered were Samuel Smith's Taddy Porter, Julius Echter Hefe-Weiss, Samichlaus and Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine. There was lots of Sam Adams to be found in Boston in those days. Sam's was okay, but I always preferred Harpoon IPA. Then in the early 90s I bought Charlie Papazian's book and learned of a German woman selling beer-making supplies out of the basement of her house in the NW Boston suburbs. At that point I was completely hooked on homebrew.
  36. Piperguy

    Piperguy Initiate (101) Apr 22, 2006 Iowa

    Moosehead. It was the late 80’s in Nebraska. My reward at the end of each college semester. Then came Shiner Bock thanks to my brother at Rice, then New Belgium happened.
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  37. jasonw754

    jasonw754 Initiate (54) May 7, 2014 Texas

    Southern Star Pine Belt Pale Ale. I'd been drinking Shiner and stuff over the adjunct lagers already, but never really knew much about things. Southern Star was a new brewery located not far from me and they were using cans which was unusual back then. The grocery store had a big display and they had 16oz cans of the Pine Belt. I thought pale ale meant very light at the time, but that beer was heavy on the hops and the flavor just zinged off my tongue. I started learning about the other styles I hadn't paid any attention to and the whole beer world opened up for me. Now it's been many years and we have so many local breweries and all the stores and bars have great selection and my fridge is full of home-brew too.
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  38. Hugonasty

    Hugonasty Aspirant (245) Apr 13, 2015 California

    Without a doubt Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. It was the first time I tasted/noticed hops in a beer. I’ve been a hop hound ever since.
  39. ZLSeth

    ZLSeth Initiate (25) Oct 19, 2016 Colorado

    I was never much of a beer drinker. Then I heard that an old buddy opened a brewery, Broken Compass (20 minutes from home) in Breckenridge, CO. On July 4th (2014?), I figured I'd go check it out. Ax suggested that I try the Coconut Porter - the one they were quickly becoming known for even though they had very recently opened. I think that was the one.

    Their other beers kept me hooked (the Coconut is a little sweet to drink frequently). Chocolate Coffee Stout, Ginger Pale Ale.... Then I learned how much I love HOPS! I used to think "hoppy" was a nasty, bitter, skunky taste. Anybody reading this knows how wrong I was.

    Now, everywhere I go, I'm looking for a little brewery/taproom. My buddy split off from Broken Compass and opened a new brewery, HighSide in Frisco, which is half the distance. So, I don't get to Breck as much anymore but I do need to go back for some Coconut Porter again one of these days.
  40. brewme

    brewme Champion (885) Mar 1, 2014 Massachusetts

    Graduated Northeastern in Boston in 95'. Nappy's changed by Sam Adams & Harpoon; training wheels taken off by Smuttynose & Wormtown; manhood status from Tree House & Trillium.
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