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I am a relative newbie in terms of drinking... I don't know too much about different types of beers (or different types of other alcohols). I only drink occasionally, so when I find something I like, I stick with it - which means I've mostly avoided this problem until now. But I want to branch out from what I know so that I can try new things and learn more.

Say I'm at a bar, and looking at their drinks menu or seeing what's on tap. Assuming there are names listed for the beers, but not descriptions of their flavor/taste, how can I figure out what a beer tastes like before ordering/trying it?

I know that many IPAs are bitter (which I'm not a fan of), and I know that the wheat beers I've had are generally less bitter (which I like more)... But I don't know too much about different kinds of beer (or why they taste the way they taste) besides that. I'm interested in learning more.

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One good resource is BeerAdvocate. Untappd is another, but you need to create an account for that site. BeerAdvocate has a whole section on beer styles along with reviews and ratings of specific beers. In particular you might like saisons or farmhouse ales. Look for the IBU listing on the beer review. IBU's below 30 are probably more to your liking if you don't like bitterness.

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  • You can also take a look at the BJCP : dev.bjcp.org/style/2015/beer They a lots of type of beer and what they should look like.
    – f222
    Sep 3 at 13:28
  • @f222 Thanks, I wasn’t aware of that site. Perhaps you could post that as an answer.
    – Eric S
    Sep 3 at 16:37
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    I second this suggestion. Personally, I love Untapped and you can view metrics about which beers you rated more highly (the bonus of having to log in is that it keeps track!)
    – Gamora
    Sep 7 at 10:06
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How can I figure out what a beer tastes like based on the name (i.e. before ordering/trying it)?

The short answer is no.

Personal experience tells me that it is not possible to figure out how a beer will taste like without trying it first.

For example, I have tried some chocolate beers. Some have notes of that I consider powdered cocoa chocolate, while others will have a taste somewhat closer to milk chocolate. Look are deceiving here.

Some liquor stores where I live will graciously let you buy one bottle or can to try out in order to be able to see if you like the beer or not.

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    While I agree in some respects, knowing the style of beer gives you some idea of taste. If I order a porter, I roughly know what it will taste like. Not however if it is a good porter or bad. I don't order sour beers because I know I won't like them.
    – Eric S
    Sep 6 at 14:48
  • @EricS This is quite true. I admit that as being so.
    – Ken Graham
    Sep 6 at 14:50
  • @EricS: Yep, that's pretty much what I'm hoping to learn - not necessarily whether a particular beer is good, but at least the general kind of taste/what to expect based on the style of beer.
    – V2Blast
    Sep 7 at 13:44

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