Over on Slashfood Sarah Gim has blogged about "Learning to Drink Beer". I had to comment, of course, but first, a review of the beers she tried:
- Tecate and Corona: needs lime, otherwise just "okay."
- Samuel Adams: bitter, had to add lime.
- Pilsner-Urquell: skunky. Becoming suspicious of green bottles.
- Miller Genuine Draft: best of her picks.
Okay, not a terrible list for a first-timer (I like that she tried Pilsner, even though it sounds like it was skunked). Here’s the comment I left, which I think could stand fairly well for any first-timer to use as a guideline:
Beers that come in green or clear bottles tend to be skunked—that is, exposure to sunlight and even excessive fluorescent lighting initiate chemical changes which give it the skunky smell and off-flavor. If they’re stored properly (i.e., cool and dark), there should be no problem, but in the real world… be warned.
My picks, to branch out:
- As others said, avoid generic American lagers. If you must, however, drink Pabst
- Lindemans Framboise Lambic. You won’t even know it’s beer.
- Widmer Hefeweizen. Lemon wedge optional. It’s a good introduction to American microbrews.
- Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar. A bit darker, with a delicious and unusual nutty flavor.
- Big Sky Moose Drool. Don’t let the name fool you, it’s a very drinkable brown ale from Montana.
When you’re ready to explore the darker and heavier stuff, Guinness is a good start.
If I were to add to the list, I’d probably reference some other fruit beers (Pyramid Apricot Ale, for instance) and some additional microbrewed lighter beers to offset the generic stuff: Deschutes Cascade Ale, perhaps, or Fat Tire Sunshine Wheat. Yeah.