Serious beer drinkers go through an evolution of taste. When I say “serious beer drinkers” I’m not referring to the guy (or gal) who can down tall boy after tall boy of Pabst or Tecate, but rather the connoisseur of beer who seeks out actual taste to accompany their buzz. The end result is much the same, however the road that takes you to inebriation is just as important as the debauchery that follows. During this evolution, there are a few different branches to take, with the endgames being either hops or malts.
The journey of finding taste typically starts out in one of two places. Either mass produced American style lagers, or cheaper (yet just as effective) malt liquors. Mine began where many people’s starts: Keystone light. “10 bones for 30 stones” was not so much a catch phrase, but a mantra for the drinking parties of yore. At this point in my ‘adult’ beverage carrier, the point of alcohol was not flavor, but rather more devious in nature. We can all relate…
From the starting line of keystone light, I quickly graduated to the ever advertised Bud Light. This was as high brow as it got at one point. But everyone eventually turns 21, and by then it’s time to step your game up. All the girls are on to hard liquor or wine by this point anyway. My first intro to craft beer was a trial by fire of sorts. Arrogant Bastard ale. When you move in with 2 microbrew employees and a high end liquor store clerk, your beer knowledge and availability grows exponentially. From here, I dove right into the only thing that can top an AB’s power. The hop infused India Pale Ale.
IPA’s represent the pinnacle of beer flavor for many, and for others they are repulsive bitter concoctions. I can enjoy them with regularity but not more than 2 or 3 at a time. IPA’s were the top of the heap, until I eventually decided to try a style I had always been apprehensive about. The Stout.
Many people are scared of stouts as they think, because they are dark in color, they are going to be more abrasive in taste. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Often times, stouts and porters are the sweetest brews to be had, with notes of coffee, toffee, or chocolate often piercing the pallet. I found these sweet flavors to be most pleasing to me and highly recommend people who have not tried them, to give them a go.
Obviously, taste is entirely subjective and no two people are going to have the exact same preference. It’s also ok to bounce around the beer spectrum and have a nice balance of tastes to try. Creating your own six-pack at Trader Joe’s or the like is a great way to sample many different breweries and beers. Another acceptable option is to hover in the middle around Ambers. If you like American style lagers, I suppose there is nothing wrong with that, it just means that you are buying your own beer when we hang out.
Below are some editor’s picks of top beer flavors. What are your top beers of choice?
Santa Fe Brewing Java Stout
Left Hand Milk Stout
Young's Double Chocolate Stout
Rogue Chocolate Stout
Stone Smoked Porter
O'Dell's Brewing Cutthroat Porter
Ska Brewing 10 Pin Porter
Full Sail Amber Ale
Alaskan Brewing Co. Amber Ale
Stone Ruination IPA
Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA (also comes in 60 min and 120 min)
Ska Brewing Imperial Decadent IPA
Santa Fe Brewing Company Happy Camper IPA
Previous articles by August Narducci
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