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I recently turned 21 (5 days) and I am trying to find some beer that I actually enjoy drinking. Currently I drink liquor like Jack + Coke and things like that. Any ideas on how to broaden my horizons when it comes to beer without just going out and buying random 6 packs?

Thanks,

  • I like going to a brewery, ordering a flight of their beers, and seeing what I like. I flight is usually a 4 ounce poor of different beers. Great way to try different beers and see what you like. – Wayne In Yak Jul 10 '16 at 18:28
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If you can purchase variety packs or cases of individual bottles where you live, that's a great way to explore -- get a couple each of a bunch of different things and use a site like RateBeer to keep track of your opinions. (I chose RateBeer because you can use it to assign a simple rating of 1-5 stars, which is good for a first approximation.)

You should be aware of the different major styles of beers. While you shouldn't dismiss an entire style based on one beer (maybe it was just that one that's not to your taste), if you find that you don't like most of the IPAs you taste or you tend to like most of the stouts, then you probably want to back off of the former and try more of the latter. RateBeer (and also BeerAdvocate) shows the styles for individual beers, and you can search -- on those sites or in your store -- for more of those or similar styles.

If you can only buy beer by the 6-pack -- do you have beer-drinking friends? Get together with a couple other people, buy one 6-pack per person, and swap bottles around. Where I live, until very recently, beer could only be sold in full cases, and I joined a group of people to buy mixed cases using this approach.

  • Thanks for the advice! I will give this a shot. I have a few friends who are 21 but they all drink bud light and things like that which I hate. So I will try and convince them to go out and taste test with me! Thanks! – cmmoutes13 Jun 30 '16 at 15:21
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    Keep in mind that as you explore, your pallet will probably change... when the IPA boom started some years ago, I found them harsh, but now I enjoy them quite a bit. So, drink what you like, but periodically give other stuff a try. A great way to do that would be to go to breweries or tap rooms to do the samplers (six 2-3 oz pours of different beers) once in a while. – Chris Steele Jun 30 '16 at 15:47
  • @ChrisSteele very good point; I was focused on the shoter-term beginner aspect, but over time we all have to revisit past impressions. I can now tolerate some IPAs, even. :-) – Monica Cellio Jun 30 '16 at 16:11
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It's a tough question. When I was getting into craft beer it was an organic process: I'd try something new, see if I liked it, then I'd try something else, and the process would continue.

Eventually my exploration became intentional: I wasn't that familiar with different styles, I just tried as many new beers as I could, and eventually found my niche.

In retrospect, if I could do it all over again with some guidance I'd want to have some understanding of styles. In general you have your dark ales stouts/porters/imperials, your lights standard lager/pilsner, your pale ales, your wheat ales, some fruity beers, some spiced beers, and whatever I'm missing.

So what you could do to start is do some research and find a good example of 4-5 different styles that interest you and that are available locally, and get an idea of which type of beer you like. After you figure out the type of beer you're interested in you could buy more examples of those styles and find which ones you like best.

A few notes that I'd keep in mind though:

  1. Going from generic drinks to more 'complex' beers can be a challenge to the taste buds. At first try you might find some beers off putting, but after a while they grow on you. For that reason it'd also be smart to ease into beers with heavier flavour, until you're ready to approach them with an open mind and a palate that's used to new flavours. Try some balanced IPAs, wheat ales, some pilsners, maybe something sweet if you like first, go from there.
  2. I've always found the beer I drink changes with the seasos. What goes best in cold weather isn't the same thing that goes best in warm weather. So that could affect your judgement of what you try
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Figuring out the "right" beer can be very difficult. Something that helps tremendously is learning what gives the beer the flavors you like. "I really like that hint of banana in the Belgian beer! Awesome! That is a by-product of a specific type of yeast inherent to Belgian beers. Oh... Oh ::bleck:: that beer is like washing my tongue in bitter-water. Well, that beer might have a lot of hops added to it (or a hop that is known for having high alpha-acid levels).

Look around locally. There is a craft beer store near me that has wine tastings on Fridays and beer tastings on Saturdays. Sometimes there are themes (I got to meet the creator of Duck-Rabbit!) and sometimes it is a hodgepodge of beers. You could also look up your local Homebrewer's Clubs. Homebrewers like talking about beer (especially their beer) and will often let you sample it to give them feedback.

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I will advice to you, firstly, to find right place, where you could buy beer on tap.

As you might know, preservatives are used in canned goods.

The same way beer on tap differ from 6 packs. Think what is better, a raw pineapple or canned pineapple.

The second advice is - don't mix different beer. Never drink more than 3 different types of beer in one day. I have a dirty experience with it. 6 different bottles, only 3 liters, what can be easy? This was a black letter day in my life... Such huge hangover might be only after 1 litter of Vodka and 0.7 litter of rum after... Bad experience...

The third advice - a snack. Use food as a major companion of your alco-trips...

All of this three advices will safe you from hangovers and safe your health.

Cheers!

  • Not all can beers use preservatives, in fact I would wager the majority of craft breweries don't use them. – Wayne In Yak Jul 12 '16 at 13:41
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Beer is a bit like real estate. Location, location, location. Move to Czech Republic or Germany would be my number 1 recommendation and then try try try (in moderation of course). A very good indication is lack of supply. This most often means demand from other drinkers is high. For example it is over a month since I've been able to buy a crate of my local favourite (Tegernseer Helles).

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Love the Question! Here's some things I've done to try new beers, without breaking the bank:

  1. "Beer flights" are an easy way to start. Lots of pubs offer them.

  2. When your buddy orders a new beer say "hey, can I try that?" (Dump him if he says "no")

  3. Find a pub with a ton of beer on tap, and go check 'em out a night they run beer specials. Our pub has 120 on tap and Friday nights they are 1/2 price. Try something new. If you don't like it, give it away.

  4. Many waiters/waitresses know their beers, ask them for a suggestion.

  5. Find a "Self-Serve" beer pub. You can pour as much or as little as you want. Pay by the ounce.

  6. Throw yourself a beer tasting party. Everyone brings a six-pack. You each get to try a bunch of beers. You could use "Wine tasting cards", we used 1-5 point system on a white board.

You might start with the lighter beer categories like pilseners and ales. When you find a good one note the category. You like Jack & Coke huh, maybe try some of the "fruity" beers.

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