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Posted September 26, 2011 by in beer

What is a good beer to start with when trying out craft beers? (updated)

“What is a good beer to start with when trying out craft beers?” This is a question that I Have been asked often over the years. The answer however is not that simple; there are varying tastes from person to person. After thinking about this for a few weeks I have come up with a short list of 10 11 that I believe are nice full rounded beers that are not too OUT THERE in taste to drive off a person new to craft beer. I’m not going to get technical in this and talk about notes of this and that, ABV or IBU’s. I always suggest finding a local retailer who has the option to build a 6 pack, this way you can have a better chance of getting one you like without losing out on too much money.

1. Samuel Adams – Boston Lager
Some may disagree with this but I know it’s one that got me into craft beer. It’s well balanced and represents its style perfectly with a slight hoppy bonus to start you on your road to hopville.

2. Pyramid – Audacious Apricot Ale
This for me is a fantastic apricot beer to say the least. It represents a nice fruit beer that gives some sweetness without over doing it and just coming out tasting over the top.

3. Sierra Nevada – Tumbler
This beer is what I consider the best example of an American Brown Ale. It also embodies the season of autumn to a T. It’s smooth and slightly hopped, which I believe they held back on since normally they are a fan of the hops.

4. Guinness – Guinness Draft
Now many will argue with me on this but I believe it’s a good well rounded stout. It’s the beer that started it all for me personally. Sadly now I have moved on to BIG BOY STOUTs as a friend of mine would say. It’s very creamy with not too much bite and the roasted dark malts are subtle.

5. Samuel Adams – Latitude 48 IPA
Again this is a matter of opinion but I believe this is a mild and well rounded enough IPA that would be a good starter for anyone looking to try an IPA. IPAs are a breed all their own and one must be careful to grab just any old one off of the shelf.

6. Bells – Two Hearted Ale
This is more for someone who has had several of the beers earlier in this list and wants to move onto something with a little more “Bite”. This is an American Style IPA but I must say is an any day go-to beer for me. Smooth with a citrus and floral taste that I believe anyone can appreciate.

7. Dogfish Head – India Brown Ale
This is a fusion of a Scotch Ale, American Brown Ale and India Pale Ale with excellent results. This has a sweet caramel flavor with a bite at the end. Its bitterness is mid level so it may be one to work up to.

8. 21st Amendment – Hell or High Watermelon
I am not a big fan of wheat beers normally but this one I enjoy. I suggested it to a friend recently who seemed to enjoy it, though slightly disappointed by the lack of watermelon flavor. It is subtle on the watermelon but for me that was a good thing being that it was not too sweet.

9. Sierra Nevada – Porter
Now porters I believe are a big step up from a stout, I remember I was not a fan at first. They are less bitter normally but have a very heavy roasted malty flavor. A black coffee drinker would do well to give it a try.

10. Great Lakes – Christmas Ale
I could not resist to throw this into the list. This is a perfect example of a Christmas/ Holiday themed beer. The spices and flavors that come out are truly what drinking a craft beer is about. I could drink it all year round but that would spoil the excitement of getting each year.

11. Three Floyds – Robert the Bruce
Ok, I have to add this one to the list because I believe it’s such a solid Scottish with a high/easy drinkability. For the first time in I believe 10 years Three Floyds has returned to Ohio. This being my first beer by them I was highly impressed with the fact it’s such a solid well rounded beer and so easy to drink. This being said I believe it would be a very good starter beer in the Scottish Ale range or in general.

Cheers! Ry