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I have a friend who never really got into beer. Something about it just doesn't taste right to her, I guess; regardless, she is still open to trying beer and wants to find some that she actually enjoys. I have been trying to find beers for her to try for a while now, but haven't had much luck. I know that she would not be a fan of any sour or overly bitter beer, so something sweeter would be more suited for her. It might also be worth mentioning that she isn't a huge fan of chocolate, but absolutely loves vanilla.

I have tried giving her some beers like Wild Blue and those seem to be a step in the right direction, but she still wants to find less fruit flavored beer that she would enjoy. I have been looking for either something with a decent vanilla flavor, like Leinie's Snowdrift Vanilla Porter. However, everything I have tried to introduce her too doesn't seem to cut it. I really want to find a beer she'll drink, so if you have any more suggestions let me know!

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When I try to pick beers for friends that don't tend to like "regular beer" in general, there are a few different styles I focus on. It's worth mentioning up front that there are certain taste aversions that people have to different beers. You mentioned getting her into a vanilla porter. I have a favorite from Mill Street in Canada; they make a great vanilla porter. The caveat though is that I like coffee a lot, and many people averse to beer tend to have trouble with the intense flavors of different varieties of beer, such as extreme hoppiness, heavily malted barley, or, darkly roasted barley that make up stouts and porters.

You mentioned less fruity beers, but talked about "Wild Blue" when you mentioned that. Wild Blue is a Blueberry flavored lager; it's basically a "regular beer," but is infused with blueberry flavor to change it up. I would look at other "fruity" styles that are still very authentic and internationally renowned, but pack less of a general beer flavor than a filtered rice/grain/barley beer would...

A good starter would be a more heavily wheat based beer. Styles like Belgian wheats or German hefeweizens have less of that pronounced "regular beer" flavor, but are still in their own right, very prolific styles. I tend to find Belgian wheats/"weisse/wittes(whites)" to be a bit more "chewy" with more of a banana/coriander flavor than their full blown German counterparts. Good wheats that I would recommend would be Franziskaner or Hoegaarden. They're safe forays into that style of beer that I almost always tend to get for new drinkers. The cool thing is that if she likes them, you can really experiment with other varieties in that field. Belgian doubles and triples tend to generally fall into a similar category, and they're arguably some of the finest beers in the world...

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    Was going to write an answer, but after reading yours, didn't feel the need. Great summary. – Xander Aug 7 '14 at 1:05
  • I appreciate it... Thanks! – Krezyle Aug 7 '14 at 5:22
  • In my experience people that don't typically like beer often like Duvel, or one of the other Belgian strong ales. They're not actually fruit-flavored, but don't taste like "beer". – user505255 Aug 10 '14 at 6:45
  • lambics and shandies may help, too – warren Jan 13 '15 at 19:24
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I would also recommend she try a sour ale. They are a completely different kind of beer that doesn't taste like "normal beer". Since it's often the standard "beer" flavor that some don't like, going outside of the standard can't be a great way to find a favorable flavor.

Flemish sours are excellent and would be a good place to start.

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In my experience, blanche and saisons are always beers that are enjoyed, even from people who are not beer lovers. The scent of spices and fruit make them interesting, and the flavor is much more "traditional" than trappist beers (which are awesome, but also different). For a second try, I would go with IPA and APA (but they are much more bitter), and the aroma is more similar to tropical fruits. As a third, I would go with Belgian beers ("abbey" style), like a Golden Ale. You could try Chouffe, for example (or Affligem blonde). Sweet, round beer that has a wonderful malt taste.

PS: I'm not suggesting particular brands as I understand you are in US, I don't know common brands there.

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In my country, girls commonly love sweet beers. An example is Kriek. It is cherry beer (kriek is Dutch for cherry). I guess any sweet fruity beer could do the trick?

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I know i'm late to the party here but a good beer that is a sweeter beer but not fruity, is dark but not heavy, and has Chocolate and Vanilla flavors is Koko Brown from Kona Brewing. It's a toasted coconut ale. Very very good. Not overly flavored but you definitely notice the flavoring. One of my favorites.

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You have different beer types. For example, Kilkenny (Ginger Irish beer) is really tasty. Guinness, with an hard hops aroma. White beers from Germany are really tasty too, weight, but don't drink it too much... Belgium got blond et brunes, & are really famous.

Or, for a sweety beer, you can drink some banana, cherry, strawberry, cherry, passions beer.

Best beers comes from Eire, Germany & Belgium ;)

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In my experience, different women have quite different tastes, but there are a few beers that seem to appeal to women much more than they do to men, so I'll try recommending those.

Innis & Gunn (original) is an obvious candidate. It's a very bland beer that's stored on American bourbon casks for a while. This gives it a strong, perfumy vanilla aroma. Some people think it feels artificial, but it's really not. It's the aroma of the American oak. Given that your friend loves vanilla it seems the obvious place to start.

Duchesse du Bourgogne is technically a Flemish red. It's a sweetish beer that's been stored in wooden barrels so that it turns a little acidic, too. Kind of fruity, kind of vinous, little bitterness. It's really a classic beer, and while many men love it (me among them), even more women seem to like it. Really worth trying.

German weissbier is sweetish, not sour, not at all bitter, and has a gentle banana flavour that comes from the yeast. Again it's something that many men like, and more women. Good examples are Weihenstephaner, Paulaner, and Erdinger (in that order). US wheat ale might work, too, but they generally use normal ale yeast and thus turn deathly boring.

Belgian witbier is similar to the weissbier, even though it uses a more neutral yeast, but then makes up for it with orange peel and coriander. Hoegaarden is the original, but there are many more examples you could try.

Belgian beer in general is sweet and low on bitterness. Some good ones to try: Westmalle Trippel, Barbar, Chimay White, La Trappe (legally Dutch), Rochefort, St Bernardus. All of these are fantastic beers that sound like they should appeal to your friend.

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Stone Smoked Vanilla Porter would be fun to try. The recipe was from one of their female brewers, which might pique her interest, too. http://www.beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/147/38446/

A friend of mine who doesn't really like beer (even chocolate stouts) tried the Framboise de Amorosa and really liked it. http://lostabbey.com/beer/framboise-de-amorosa

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What about Desperados? The flavor goes in the direction of lemonade. Generally, you could try some beer mix drinks. Would that be an option?

  • I had never heard of Desperados. I'll give that a shot when I find some. As for beer mixed drinks, she likes things like Skippy and other similar concoctions. I don't know if finding a mixed drink for her is what she wants, so I'd have to ask I suppose. I was under the impression she was looking for a beer in itself; bottled, canned, or anything. – ABarb Aug 6 '14 at 13:14
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If you really want to get someone into beer you should avoid gimmicky fruit beers. At that point you aren't really appreciating the beer for the beer in my opinion, and there are plenty of options out there where fruity tastes play a role, but aren't artificial or dominating. But really what you want to do is get her exposed to some top-notch examples of the main styles and get an idea of what she likes and go from there. If we're skipping sours, pale ales and chocolate beer then here are some I always try to hit on with newbies:

Witbier - Light, Belgian wheat beer with orange peel and coriander. Awesome summer beer and one of the most accessible styles. Fruity flavor is just an accent more than the point of the beer. Great examples: Hacker Pschorr, Hoegaarden, St. Bernardus

Dubbel - Dark, Belgian ales brewed with complex blends of malts resulting in deep, rich flavors and notes of dark fruits and spices despite lacking any of these ingredients. Great Examples: Cordendonk Abbey Brown Ale, Chimay Red, Rochefort 8

German Wheat - Lots of styles within this, but these tend to be a bit heavier than witbier with more of a spicy character and less citrus. These range from the extremely light weissbier to dunkleweizens to the heaviest weizenbocks. Great Examples: Weihenstephaner Weiss/Dunkel/Vitus, Schneider Weiss

Bock - Traditionally the heaviest of lagers, dark and complex but more mild than stouts. Little hop character with complex malts. Great Examples - Weihenstephaner Korbinian, Ayinger Celebrator Dopplebock

Others I might try are a good Coffee Stout Narragansett, a caramel porter like the Sam Adams Holiday Porter, and if you're really striking out with all these Abita's Purple Haze is probably the best fruit-added beer out there aside from sours.

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When I didn't like beer, I was introduced to the Shandy. Just lemonade and a wheat beer... she may start out with a lot of lemonade, but over time there will be less lemonade and more beer, as she gets used to the taste.

You can use any beer with lemonade and achieve a similar effect. I also like pale ale, or a lager that is light (not a light beer)

Otherwise, I have a female acquaintance that swears by Hard Root Beer. It's less alcoholic than normal beers though.

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