When I first started getting into craft beer it was hard to make sense of all the different breweries and styles. Its overwhelming to walk into a bar or restaurant and look at a list of 60+ beers and pick one without being a little worried about what youre going to be getting, especially when youre used to the same 10 beers you find on tap at every bar in America. But dont worry; if this is you then youre not alone. Ive been there and so has everyone else who loves good beer. The truth of the matter is youre never going to know everything about every beer you drink, or even about every style. (Luckily) There is enough experimentation going on in the US beer scene to keep things ever changing. However, in the end, there are a few things to help hone your palate and learn what you like to help broaden your beer horizons.
1. Identify youre starting point: Start with what you like! For some people into craft beer this is easy they know theyre hop-heads and drink bold IPAs. For others they only know what theyve been drinking for years mass-produced, light American Pilsners. Thats ok! Simply take a look at what youre typically drinking and find out what style it is. Once you know that, you can do a quick search or two to find out some good craft beer substitutes. For example, if you love drinking Blue Moon it means youll probably be into other craft wits. Give the Ommegang Witt or Allagash White a try.
2. Focus on one main style This may seem counter intuitive but 1) choosing one style gives you focus when choosing beers and 2) allows you to hone your taste buds. Once you know what style you like, you can narrow down the choices on the menu or be able to ask a waiter or bartender for suggestions. Start trying as many of those beers as possible and soon youll start to be able to differentiate between them. For example, if you choose India Pale Ales youll learn the nuances and will eventually start to understand subtle differences, like between a West Coast IPA versus a basic American IPA or an English IPA. From there you can branch out into other styles. Its a journey that will be unique to you.
3. When you feel like it, switch it up Every once in a while if you dont see something you recognize or dont feel like having the norm, go with something foreign to you. Dont go buying a six pack but pick a nice, sessionable 12 oz. bottle or a pint and check it out. Youll be surprised to find out how many beers you like outside of your normal realm.
4. Drink seasonally Drinking seasonally is a fantastic way to see how ingredients play a role in craft beer and another great way to learn about various beer styles. Not to mention many amazing breweries only have those beers available for a limited time.
5. Have fun! - Dont ever be stressed out when ordering a beer. The worst case is you have to randomly guess, and any beer is better than no beer in my book!
Have you been trying any of these? Do you remember when you first ventured into craft beer? Sound off in the comments!
This blog was provided by Charlotte Beer Blog.