altportland today has a good post titled Learning about Craftbrews, that contains some really good points for beginners to beer. And of course, it’s nicely Portland-specific.
The best way to learn about beer (or wine) is to go to tastings, or to go to places where it’s taken very seriously.
You have to watch for beer tastings, but it’s worth your while.
Trust your intuition.
This is pretty apropos, since I’ve started attending the Thirsty Thursdays here locally. The wine and beer guy (Rob) down at Newport Market knows his stuff, and can talk intelligently about beer and make good recommendations. If you’re looking to branch out and find out more about craft beer, read the altportland post and find a local tasting event. Or check out BeerAdvocate—start with their styles page and read about any styles that sound interesting to you.