What was your gateway craft beer?

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

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  1. mrbelvebeer1

    mrbelvebeer1 Initiate (0) Nov 28, 2017 Illinois

    5 Rabbit's Cacao. I didn't want to drink it (because I didn't think I liked stouts or anything other than Miller Lite), but my friend just said, "shut up and try it". It was amazing, and I was hooked.
    cazzysmith likes this.
  2. Shenaniguy

    Shenaniguy Initiate (0) Mar 26, 2018 Texas

    Pete’s wicked strawberry blonde and Pyramids apricot ale.

    Beer can be fruity and still be beer.

    Mind blown
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  3. ricknelson

    ricknelson Devotee (445) Feb 20, 2010 Vermont

    Guess I'm going to show my age here; but Catamount was my first taste of craft beer. Catamount started in the late 80's a mile from my house in White River Junction Vermont. I actually have two of those 1989-90 beers, still full in my man cave. However what sold me on craft beer was Cadilac Mountain Stout. Being in Vermont I have the choice of some of best craft beers in the World.
  4. BeerRunner

    BeerRunner Zealot (559) Jun 3, 2012 Texas
    Society Trader

    Sierra Nevada Pale Ale in 1983 at Spike's Place in San Luis Obispo CA. Later, I got a job as a bartender at Spike's where we served 45 beers from "around the world". In the early 80's that was a pretty massive beer list!
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  5. hozersr

    hozersr Meyvn (1,131) May 11, 2014 Pennsylvania

    My gateway beer was Bass Ale. I was always a Miller guy, then one cold Thanksgiving day, tailgating at my son's high school football game, I tried a Bass Ale. I have never looked back.
    KentT likes this.
  6. Fassfleige

    Fassfleige Initiate (0) Sep 16, 2017 Arizona

    Tommyknocker Butthead stout from Idaho Springs, Colorado. I have drank Guinness, Beamish, Mackeson XXX and dark beers fresh from the brauerei in Germany, including Andechs. I love stouts. Tommyknocker was peddled here in Phoenix for a while. The Budweiser crowd couldn't handle it. I may have to go back to Colorado to get some more.
  7. Deakenjb

    Deakenjb Initiate (0) Aug 15, 2018 Wisconsin

    So I have 2 distinct gateway beers (which is a kickass term) they were New Glarus Moon Man and PBR. Now I know you are thinking "PBR isn't craft get this schmuck out of here" but please hear me out. I was first introduced to beer when I started playing rugby in college (surprise surprise) before then I only really drank mixed drinks and thought that beer tasted like shit. Then at my first post match party I got hammered on the cheapest pisswater rugby dues could buy (I believe it was Keystone) and I decided "hey this beer stuff isn't too bad." From then on I did drink beer but was hesitant trying things other then the keg at 123 rugby house lane. It wasn't until 4 games later where a friend brought a case of PBR along with the keg and proceeded to hand me one saying "its like old timey keystone." I took a drink and was kind of shocked, yes of course it had a very beery taste but unlike keystone or bud light it didn't taste half water half beery. It tasted like someone said "you know that shitty beer taste that you get when you drink keystone that doesn't stick around too long because no one would dare drink a beer like this warm? lets make a beer that tastes like that!" Thats what blew me away was someone could make a beer that tasted different than a "regular beer" and to hell with it being good or not it just tasted different. Along with the PBR that day I did later that evening try a Moon Man from another friend I made that night and I wound up really enjoying that beer. Still to this day I always recommend moon man to anyone who is dipping their toes in the craft world. I also use the fact that PBR should taste the exact same everywhere you go to test tap lines in the bar before I go spending 10 bucks on a fancy beer where the bar doesn't even keep clean lines.

    TLDR: Learned I loved different beer when I found PBR and Moon Man on the same night
  8. beckmn1

    beckmn1 Initiate (119) Sep 26, 2003 Oklahoma

    In college in the 70s, I mostly drank Coors. Back then it was a regional beer and had a cut-like following. (The movie Smoky and The Bandit was based on getting a load of Coors down to Florida!)

    But it was probably back in the mid-80s when i started buying Moosehead Lager fairly regularly, followed at some point by Sam Adams Boston Lager. Baby steps at the time, but now I love some nice DIPAs .... Dogfish 90 Minute, Stone IPA, etc.
    Deakenjb likes this.
  9. MacCherry

    MacCherry Initiate (0) Oct 19, 2012 Massachusetts

    Sometime during the mid-90s, I came home from college for winter break and was introduced to Harpoon Winter Warmer. Christmas in a bottle. I had no idea beer was capable of carrying such flavor. This led to a literal avalanche of craft beer experiments Red Hook ESB, Old Thumper, Magic Hat #9 (still holds a special place in my heart), and the beer that, to this day, is my favorite everyday bottled beer: Smuttynose Shoals Pale Ale.

    I was lucky to find my beer palate during my college years, but that also meant I had no money and could barely afford to indulge in my new hobby. Genesee Cream Ale stood in as a cheap imitation during those lean times.
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  10. smiller1966

    smiller1966 Initiate (43) May 5, 2016 Florida

    Anchor Steam in 1988 at McCormick & Kuleto's, Ghirardelli Square, San Francisco. It's still my go to beer anytime I'm eating clam chowder.
    cagedartist and Deakenjb like this.
  11. DadwithBeer

    DadwithBeer Devotee (412) Mar 14, 2008 Minnesota
    Society Trader

    Back in college... Killians Irish Red and Summit EPA
  12. Ben

    Ben Initiate (119) Jul 16, 2009 Massachusetts

    Catamount Gold, Amber, and Porter. Long Trail Bicentennial ale.
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  13. meegs

    meegs Initiate (44) Dec 19, 2008 Wisconsin

    It was probably 1983 84ish and the beer was Sprecher Hefeweizen here in Milwaukee. From there it was import Hefe’s and Pete’s Wicked Ale, Sierra Nevada PA, Killians Red (which was craft to me back then), etc.
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  14. Medicmurf

    Medicmurf Initiate (0) Feb 7, 2016 California

    The year was 1986. I remember it like it was yesterday. The beer was St. Stan’s Amber Alt, out of Modesto, California. At the time,
    It tasted like no other beer that I had ever had. No, this was definitely not my fsther’s Shlitz beer. I have never looked back since. I have literally tasted thousands of craft beers since that first one. Although they may have their place, Budweiser and Coors will never be found inside of my refrigerator.

    Prior to St. Stan’s Amber Alt, the closest thing to a craft beer that I ever tasted was Anchor Steam Beer out of San Francisco, California. The year was probably 1978. I enjoy it still today, both because it still tastes good and because it holds sentimental value for me
    MGtom likes this.
  15. bdstuart

    bdstuart Initiate (0) Jan 13, 2017 Germany

    The entire range of Chimays for me...red, white, and blue caps
    cazzysmith likes this.
  16. cbrowndde

    cbrowndde Initiate (106) Oct 2, 2008 Maryland

    Boulder Beer, it was in the '70s and I had brought a couple of 6-packs home from a trip to Boulder. Somehow, a couple of bottles got pushed to the back of the fridge and stayed there for a few months before I located them again. With a bit of extra ageing, they were super. I was hooked. Other good ones were from Ron McNeil's brewery in Brattleboro and Tank 7 from Boulevard. Sometimes, the beer just happens to match the moment when you taste it.
  17. Bmwguy

    Bmwguy Initiate (0) Nov 26, 2017 Indiana

    Yeungleng porter, may not be what everyone else calls a gateway, but for me it was the start
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  18. dub_shih

    dub_shih Initiate (59) Apr 21, 2016 Illinois

    Zombie Dust! :slight_smile:
  19. Naugled

    Naugled Savant (940) Sep 25, 2007 New York

    Yuengling, Lord Chesterfield Ale, The Brickhouse, State College PA, 1987.

    I'm not sure if craft beer was a term yet, but that beer helped me realize that there were breweries out there producing beers outside of the norm for that period. (ignoring imports)
  20. mikebeachnd

    mikebeachnd Initiate (0) Jan 11, 2012 Illinois

    Two Brother's Cane & Ebel. This was not my first craft beer, but one that got me hooked. Can you believe they added sugar to a beer!? Crazy, I love it!
    Weinerdog43 likes this.
  21. MGtom

    MGtom Initiate (0) Dec 13, 2014 Ohio

    Harvey's of Lewes. My first trip to England was 1983. Yes. I'm old. I was always disappointed in goofy American beers and their associated advertising. Tried them all. Couldn't really tell any difference although I really tried. Then I tried Harvey's Best Bitters and I was hooked. Got back to Ohio and started brewing my own. Learned a lot about brewing and had to ship ingredients from wherever, but it was worth it.

    Then Samuel Smith's started exporting to the USA and I was a Nut Brown Ale nut. Expensive? Yes? Worth it? Yes. Went to Tadcaster to take the tour and check out the slate vats. Then came Bass, Guinness, Old Speckled Hen (From Abingdon), among others from Olde Blighty.

    Eventually American beer grew up. Hops were discovered. New hops were developed. Better recipes followed. Good beers and ales became the norm. Still not a fan of fruit infused or other silliness, but a good American IPA can be very tasty and refreshing - almost as good as Harvey's Best Bitters cask ale while sitting in an East Sussex pub.
  22. TigerZZ

    TigerZZ Initiate (0) Aug 30, 2018 Netherlands

    Has to be Brewdog Punk IPA. A revelation after the many disappointments of trying craft beers since the turn of the century. I realised that when the craft brewers started shifting the emphasis from mainstream ales and lagers to more hoppy beers that they were doing things the established brewers could not risk, although many of them are now following the trend. Now my favourite is Lagunitas IPA but there are many really excellent IPAs out there and long may the revolution continue.
  23. Goneflying87

    Goneflying87 Initiate (0) Sep 22, 2018 California

    First beer was Corona with Salt and Lime back in high school parties.

    First craft beer for me was Leche Oscura from Smog City; it was a one time brew thing.
  24. dbean3

    dbean3 Disciple (371) Mar 21, 2014 Texas

    Chimay Grande Reserve. After drinking that, I knew manufactured beers would never be the same.
  25. cazzysmith

    cazzysmith Initiate (0) May 30, 2014 Massachusetts

    Harpoon's Raspberry UFO was the first beer I ever drank a whole bottle or pint of.
    Sam Adams' Weiss Beer and White Ale were my saviors at beer fests my hubby and I frequented, before I got sick of beer (hadn't found other styles I liked yet) and fests and was about to give up on beer.
    Jackie O's Berliner Weiss got me back into beer (and introduced me to the world of sours). <3
    Still going to beer fests!
  26. John_M

    John_M Poo-Bah (7,220) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
    Moderator Society Trader

    St. Stan's Amber Alt was an amazing beer, and so the brewery topped my list of "must visit" breweries when I moved back to Sacto from Memphis, Tn in 1989.

    At the time, I felt like the 3 most prominent microbreweries in N. California were Anchor Brewing in SF, Sierra Nevada and St. Stan's. Unfortunately, St. Stan's success had not gone unnoticed by the big boys, and they were targeted by AB in their distributor scheme (distributors were told not to carry St. Stan beers or lose their right to carry and sell AB products - no idle threat back in the 80's). St. Stan's ended up having to sue AB over this practice, which resulted in a pretty significant settlement award (I think you can still find the court case online). While St. Stan's won that particular battle, in the end AB actually won the war. St. Stan's never really recovered from the customer stream loss they incurred, and they became very much just a local player in the N. California microbrew scene ever since.

    That was a long time ago, but I've never forgotten or forgiven.
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  27. nashvillefil

    nashvillefil Initiate (81) Aug 30, 2012 Tennessee

    When I was in highschool and on the Europe trip, we snuck out to a pub in Germany and I discovered that there was beer that I actually liked and not all beer was that horse piss my friends were buying. But, I had no idea what I'd drank and when I got back to rural Tennessee, my choices were nil in the 1980s. Fast forward to 1994 and I discovered Sam Adams Boston Lager... That was amazing!
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  28. sfdragoon

    sfdragoon Initiate (0) Sep 14, 2008 Hawaii

    New Belgium Fat Tire
  29. CraftBeerApprentice

    CraftBeerApprentice Initiate (0) Dec 10, 2014 California

    Sam Adams Boston Lager showed me that not all beer was bland, yellow water. Arrogant Bastard, though. THAT blew me away and made me start asking questions about what beer could possibly be.
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  30. TylerJ

    TylerJ Disciple (374) Apr 10, 2016 Iowa

    Left Hand Milk Stout Nitro.

    I always (and to this day) hated the taste of Bud Light, Coors, etc. In college, before 21, I obviously drank whatever was cheapest and whatever our "buyer" could get for us (usually a 30 of Keystone and maybe a handle of McCormick's or Hawkeye vodka). I would mix the vodka with a bottle of juice or gatorade or whatever I had available and drink the Keystones after that when I didn't care about the flavor anyway. After turning 21, if I was out I would sometimes order beers like Boston Lager, Fat Tire, easy stuff like that as well as whiskey drinks and long island iced teas.

    Now here's how I discovered craft. My first job out of college was in the same city I went to school (Ames, Iowa), and one of my friends from engineering also worked there. The company would occasionally do happy hours down the street at this Irish pub called Dublin Bay, and my friend and I started going almost every week on our own. That's where I tried Left Hand's Milk Stout Nitro and loved it. From there I would try other dark beers they had pretty regularly such as Deschutes Obsidian Stout and Black Butte Porter as well as Founders' Porter. Eventually I discovered this site and r/beerporn on reddit and started trading/chasing beers.
    Donovanj likes this.
  31. Seamus_McGuire

    Seamus_McGuire Initiate (0) Aug 11, 2014 Minnesota

    This is easy. Summit Extra Pale Ale. I believe the year was 1986 or 87 and I was already somewhat of a beer snob and drank imports when they were available. Summit Brewing opened on University Ave in St. Paul and I was pleasantly surprised to find any American beer with flavor. I worked nearby and after work we often went to a little place called Johnny's Bar which was directly across the street from the brewery. I literally watched them roll the kegs across the street more than once.
  32. ejholmes76

    ejholmes76 Initiate (0) Mar 10, 2017 Illinois

    This brings me back to buying single bottles at Piccadilly in Champaign, IL in the late 90s....

    Bells Amber Ale (in a keg too!)
    Redhook Hefeweizen
    Pyramid Pale Ale & Hefeweizen
    Sierra Nevada Pale Ale & Celebration Ale
    Anchor Special Ale
    Pete's Wicked
  33. bunsteve

    bunsteve Initiate (0) Jul 24, 2016 Maine

    Mine was a true craft beer, two of them actually. My brother in law made a batch of coffee stout at Incredibrew in Nashua, NH, followed closely by a brew he called Hopzilla. If I remember correctly he used eight different hops varieties and nearly a full batch worth of each. First sip made your tongue want to crawl out of your mouth, but the aftertaste was like being in heaven. Since then I've settled in to mostly SA Boston Lager, but my favorite now is Steenbergen's Goulden Draak - triple fermented IPA heaven.
    Squire likes this.
  34. PyrrhusBrin

    PyrrhusBrin Initiate (0) Nov 23, 2017 California

    For me it was Founders Breakfast Stout, that beer changed the way I perceived beer.
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  35. McDunn

    McDunn Initiate (0) Nov 25, 2017 Massachusetts

    International I'd have to say Bass Ale (back when it was good) and Craft beer the wonderful Newman's Pale Ale from The Wm. S. Newman Brewing Co.in Albany, NY
    BJC likes this.
  36. wattoclone

    wattoclone Defender (633) Mar 7, 2009 California

    Not real sure what a "craft" beer is, but a a 65 year-old beer lover who began drinking beer as soon as it was legal, the first time I discovered and could afford styles of beer other than local Milwaukee lagers was in grad school. In the late 70's in Pasadena we would head over to a local Irish bar who served Guinness, Harp and Watneys Red Barrel. Soon after I discovered imported beers like Beck's and Dos Equis and became an avid beer hunter. Yuengling Porter was my first initiation into the world of American craft styles back in the 80's when I moved to Philly and shortly after Buffalo Bill's Pumpkin Ale started my love for pumpkin beers.
    Squire likes this.
  37. BigDawgIII

    BigDawgIII Initiate (94) Feb 4, 2009 Illinois

    I was living in Milwaukee at the time (1985) and drinking mostly Augsburger (when I had money) and Blatz (when I didn't) when I noticed selections from a new brewery, Sprecher, at my neighborhood liquor store. I remember Black Bavarian and Special Lager as being the first styles available.
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  38. Brestel

    Brestel Initiate (112) Mar 15, 2006 Nebraska

    For me it was Fat Tire on tap, at a Hockey game.
  39. randjuke

    randjuke Initiate (176) Feb 13, 2010 Iowa

    Guinness and Blue Moon were the beers that showed me beer could be something other than the BMC stand-bys.
  40. troysworktable

    troysworktable Initiate (85) Sep 20, 2008 Washington

    My gateway beer away from the world of high school parties and flat, watered-down macrobrews (Miller Genuine Draft, Corona) was Paulaner Oktoberfest Märzen. From there, I never looked back.
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