I often get asked by friends what new beer they should try. I am by no means a beer expert but I have probably been exposed to more beer and beer types than the average person over the past few years. It has become a mild obsession of mine which is obviously becoming apparent to the people around me.
It really can be difficult to recommend specific beers when you aren’t sure of the person’s taste. The thing I am most afraid of is recommending a beer that may be too extreme or different for a particular person and end up scaring them away from craft beer for good. So here is a small list I have comprised of what I would consider ‘gateway beer’. In other words, good introductions to the craft beer way of life. And it is a way of life.
Brown ales might be one of the best beer types to introduce someone to something new. They usually are a bit sweeter and maltier than the average mega brew, and sometimes have nutty flavors. There are English Brown Ales, but the more interesting ones will usually be American Browns.
For The Timid
For The More Adventurous
Another style of brew I would recommend to someone who is showing more interest in beer would be the Belgian Strong Ale. This style has sweet and fruity flavors with mild spices. The classic example of this would be Duvel.
Belgian Strong Ales Nearly Anyone Will EnjoyDelirium Tremens North Coast Pranqster Unibroue La Fin Du Monde Affligem Blond _
If someone is looking to try new beer and prefers the more summery and refreshing type of beer then I would suggest a good hefeweizen.
Recommended HefeweizensAyinger Weissbier Brooklyner Weisse Brewster’s Gunther’s Hefeweizen Rogue Mom Hefeweizen
For someone who may prefer darker beers, I would recommend a stout or a scotch ale. Scotch ales will be very sweet and strong, with malty caramel flavors. Stouts will have more of a roasted flavor.
Recommended StoutsRogue Shakespeare Stout Mill St. Cobblestone Stout McAuslans St. Ambroise Oatmeal Stout _
Recommended Scotch AlesMcewans Scotch Ale Belhaven Wee Heavy
Finally, there are definitely beer types that should probably be avoided for beer newcomers. Craft brewers tend to make at least one or two big, funky or extreme beers. One good piece of information to know is that anything with the word “Imperial” or “Double” in it essentially means extreme. Try to avoid Imperial or Double-titled beer unless you are adventurous.
Another beer style to avoid would be IPAs and Double IPAs. An IPA (India Pale Ale) contains more hops than most other beer types, creating a bitter and usually undesirable flavor for people who are new to beer. Over time you may learn to appreciate the hops overdose but it would likely be a gradual change in your taste buds.
For the CourageousBrooklyn Black Chocolate Stout Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA Lagunitas Hop Stoopid Half Pints Humulus Ludicrous Alley Kat Olde Deuteronomy Ayinger Celebrator Dopplebock North Coast Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout