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Asking as a beer lover, my roommate does not enjoy most beers, nor does my fiancé. I have nobody to share my enjoyment and taste testing with. What is a good beer that I can get them started out on to maybe get them to eventually appreciate the taste of beer?

They enjoy sweeter flavors, whereas I enjoy more bitter flavors.

My roommate recently started drinking Angry Orchards and will occasionally drink a Blue Moon Cinnamon Horchata Ale, so he is starting to appreciate the taste more, but my fiancé just has not found her favorite yet. She says that she didn't mind Dos Equis as much as others, but still didn't really like it.

Is there a beer that is good for starters that is not overwhelmingly "beery"?

3
  • A saison perhaps, or a lambic (Kriek) Jun 24 '15 at 13:35
  • That would HAVE to be "Coors Light - The Beer For People Who Don't Like The Taste Of Beer!". Absolutely no flavor. Zero. Zippo. Nada-roni. It's like drinking foamy water. Went to a company gathering once, and by the time I showed up the only beer left was Coors Light. Thought, "Hey - I've seen the commercials - gotta try one!". Popped the top on an unopened can (so no joke by co-workers), took a sip, looked at the can, and tried to figure out how they got the water in there! COMPLETELY! FLAVORLESS! But, y'know, GREAT STUFF if you don't like beer! "It's the wrong beer anytime!" :-) Jul 21 '16 at 1:19
  • I would start off with something not too strong. Coors light, maybe even Amstel
    – Ian French
    May 5 at 17:16

13 Answers 13

8

This largely depends on the person's tastes, but in general one that tastes good. In my experience, most men I know are already beer drinkers, and most women I know have only been exposed to beer in the form of generics like Canadian, Bud, Coors Light.. etc (no introduction to beer at all, and likely a big reason why they don't like it).

The predominant character of these beers is that they're bitter and flavorless, so if that's what people don't like: move in the opposite direction. When I got my girlfriend into beer I introduced her to particulars like 'St. Ambroise Apricot Ale' and a 'Fruli'. She had no idea that fruity, sweet beers like this existed, and after trying enough of them she became more of a beer person.

So in general spiced or sweet beers are usually a good direction to go, but it also depends on the person's tastes. You might find they can jump to a complex and heavy beer quickly, but for most people they have to move gradually into this realm.

1
  • Lager with Lime cordial on a summer day is also a good introduction. Jun 25 '15 at 15:17
11

I would recommend starting with a draft Hefeweizen or Belgian Wheat, or a fruit flavored mead such as a blackberry or passion-fruit mead.

I would also recommend pairing the beer with a good meal so the experience is not centered around the beer, the beer is instead an accent to the experience.

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  • +1 on Belgian Wheat. Seems to be a non-fruity beer that non-beer drinkers I know can stand. Jul 14 '15 at 20:42
6

If you are trying to get a person who does not like beer to try beer, you are going to have to be creative and go for something a little more exotic.

Young's Double Chocolate Stout or Rogue's Chocolate Stout would be my first two choices. My partner dislikes American beer, but really likes these two brands. In addition to Chocolate Stout, Rogue also has Pumpkin-flavor, Hazelnut-flavor, and Voodoo "Lemon Chiffon" Donut-flavor beer (and many others).

When my partner's first two choices are not available, we go fruity. Pyramid Brewery makes an absolutely delicious apricot ale.

We were in a little brewery in Hannover and they had the best banana-flavored beer in the entire world. Now I know you are not going to be able to get this, but you might be able to find some banana bread beer in the USA instead. I have not tried this brand, but if it is anything like the beer in Hannover, your friends will probably like it.

Banana Bread Beer
(source: drizly.com)

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  • Donut-flavored beer. I live and learn... :-) (BTW - I think I've seen your banana bread beer at Sam's Club lately). Jul 21 '16 at 1:20
5

There is a variant of stout available in the UK known as Sweet Stout. There is a version made by Sam Smith of Tadcaster in England who export to the US as Samuel Smiths Organic Chocolate Stout. The beer actually has organic cocao mixed in the brew. It may well suit the tastes of someone moving into beer.

4

I would choose a wheat beer for start, mainly because thats what got me started in the "real" beer world (with Erdinger and then Paulaner to be more precise).

Mostly because they are not too bitter or complex, I find then accessible even to non-beer people, and they are still clearly beers, while many fruit beers (kriek for example) are so centered around the fruit that the beer part can almost be ignored.

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  • Wheat beer seems good for this purpose, but why exactly these two brands? There are much better ones around. Sep 3 '15 at 11:55
  • Because both are widely available, reasonably cheap and fit weel in the "not too bitter, not to complex part", but I would gladly accept suggestions Sep 4 '15 at 17:22
  • Try, for instance, the wheat beer and the rye wheat beer of Störtebeker from Stralsund, Germany. Sep 5 '15 at 5:20
4

This might sound heretical to the true aficionados, but why not try a „Bananenweizen“, which is a Hefeweizen (.5l), to which you add about .1l of banana juice. It’s refreshing, not too sweet, and might be a good starting point.

Albeit being a purist, and preferring more bitter flavours (eg. Jever), I still enjoy this drink from time to time.

4

This is a highly subjective question. It depends on the types of food they eat and what their preferences are taste wise. Ask them which notes within beer they find unappealing and what makes them cringe.

My wife hated beer because of the carbonation and forever nobody asked why they just suggested beers that she subsequently hated. Eventually I asked her why she explained so I went out and got an Allagash four and she loved it.

It is entirely subjective though and you will need to find the flavors she likes then tailor your approach around that.

Hope this helps!

3

It's true that sweet and fruity beers seem to be more appealing to people who do not like beer as a general rule - easing them in with ciders and lambics is potentially a good way to start.

Considering that our taste buds mature and change over time, many people may have a bad experience with beer prior to the age of 22 when most people begin to enjoy more savory flavors. Also, the first beer(s) that Americans, in particular, are likely to taste are truly disgusting - coors, budweiser, bud light, miller, etc. These beers are nicknamed "piss water" et al, for a reason - and, the idea that beer is gross might carry over into adulthood based on these experiences.

With that said, I would add here that there are also ways to approach turning a person into a "real beer" lover...

  1. Start with a light beer with less of a flavor and body, such as ale, pilsner, or lager. Avoid whites, IPAs, and anything else that might have an "extra" flavor that could be taken as unappealing - unfortunately, this would go for stouts and porters too (my personal favorites.) Even "beer people" that I know and love don't always appreciate dark beers.

  2. Ensure the beer is cold - icy cold. Beer is generally more palatable, for beginners especially, when it's chilled... we will discuss this more later.

  3. Ensure the beer is bottled. (Please do not comment or respond to me about how there are studies that show there is no real taste difference between bottles and cans - I know all about those studies. I am not debating the finer points of drinking a canned beer from a glass.) The truth is that drinking a beer from a bottle always tastes better than drinking one from a can. Period.

  4. Ensure that there are no other beverage options. Possibly the most important aspect in the conversion process... I will take you through a couple scenarios in which I have seen non-beer-drinkers become beer-drinkers:

    • Scenario a.) Serve beers when everyone is already inebriated. There are always going to be parties or gatherings at which the well runs dry, so to speak. If you can manage this by design, you might discover that your target audience is much more likely to drink beverages, that they normally would not, after they are already a bit tipsy. So, if your people are still thirsty when there is nothing else to drink, break out the beers.

    • Scenario b.) Serve cold beers on a hot day and/or after a strenuous activity. This is where step 2 above becomes very handy... when one is very hot, an icy cold beer is even more palatable - beer lover or not. Even an icy cold budweiser in a bottle becomes a welcome relief in such instances.

2

A faro, a lambic with added sugar, is sweet but not fruity. I find them enjoyable once in a while.

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My wife will try a beer mixed as a shandy e.g Badger brewery's Tanglefoot 1:1 with lemonade. This can take the hoppy edge off "beery" beers. Mort Subite or Kriek fruit beers are also a hit

1

When I look at all the answers previously given, the common denominator seems to be: start with the least “beery” tasting beer. “Bitterness” and “hoppines” are two of the most easily identifiable beer characteristics. Keeping that in mind, trying one of the multitude of flavoured beers that are now common is likely the safest route to take.

For most North Americans any cerveza (which will likely come from Mexico) is a sneaky place to start as they seem to be flavoured without being labelled as such. (I make beer and can get a reasonable cerveza-like flavour by adding cloves and allspice at the primary fermentation of a light lager or wheat beer). Corona Extra and Dos Equis are two popular and seemingly inoffensive brands.

Another popular favourite of mine that I can get non-beer drinkers to appreciate is Innes & Gunn original. It is a Scotch beer with hints of toasted oak, caramel, vanilla and whisky flavours.

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Even though taste is very personal i would definitly start light. I always think Saison's and Weizen's are great for starters. It is refreshing and has around 5% alcohol.

Depending on the person's taste i would then move to the heavier beers, either fruity(IPA's, Kriek)/sour or triple's. I would consider Stout's and Porters as "endgame".

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If you want a lite domestic beer that really is a very light beer flavor to start. Coors Light. Very weak beer flavor.

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