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Advice Needed - Honey Brown Stage of beer appreciation

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I read a post on here about the different stages a beer drinker can go through in terms of beer appreciation. While I do not want to re-hash that very interesting discussion, I did recognize myself as being in the "second stage" of beer appreciation, where I am starting to look for Honey Brown/tastier types of beers. So, I humbly come to you, experienced beer drinkers, and request that you think waaaaaay back to the time you started to care about taste. And I mean when you first started caring. Because lately I am into Bass Ale, which might not even fit into this category, so I not what you would call very far along in my beer appreciation journey. So, does anyone have any recommendations to help me along?

I am pretty well travelled and have had beer in Europe and Asia so the only thing this request is about it helping me along in this second stage of the journey, if that makes any sense. Any suggestions would be much appreciated!

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  1. Samuel Smiths - Nut Brown Ale, Oatmeal Stout, Taddy Porter
    Stone - Levitation Ale, Smoked Porter, Pale Ale
    Belhaven - St. Andrews Ale
    Chimay - Red label, White label
    Fullers - ESB, London Pride

    Any of these should fit right in with where you are right now. Stone Pale Ale, and Fuller's London Pride, are a bit hoppier than the others. St. Andrews Ale has a really nice smokiness to it, more pronounced than the smokiness in Stone Smoked Porter.

    1. Look for Brown Ales or Wheat Beers. They tend to be sweeter and less hoppy than Pale Ales or other, more 'houndy' beers. There are many varieties that are easy to find. Ask your local beer purveyor for suggestions.

      1 Reply
      1. re: mojoeater

        The OP said his current favorite is Bass, which is a pale ale, and a moderately hoppy one at that.

      2. Good suggestions so far. You might also try Brooklyn Brewing Co. Brown Ale, which I find to be quite good.
        Also, If you're looking for something totally unchallenging, you might want to try the widely available and relatively inexpensive Newcastle Brown. I happen to like it as a casual brew, but don't expect it to be a transcendent experience.

        1. Anyone who enjoys Bass Pale Ale is well along in their beer appreciation journey IMHO. I'd definitely place Bass in Stage 3. If you're digging that rich, warming, malty, buttery diacetyl thing which a lot of English ales like Bass have I'd try:
          1) Fuller's ESB
          2) Fuller's London Pride
          3) Young's Special London Ale
          4) Whitbread Pale Ale

          1. Bass tastes different from coast to coast in the US. It is not consistant.

            2 Replies
            1. re: mojoeater

              Thanks all, I did not expect to get so many suggestions, and I definitely look forward to trying them all! As for what Josh and Chinon00 pointed out, liking Bass Ale lately, and not being well educated in any of this, I only assumed I was in that second stage because I have only started trying different things. I definitely am digging the rich, warming, malty, and buttery. Maybe I need to read (and drink) up on what I am liking before asking for suggestions? These are all great, now to find some food that pairs well with some of these. I am off to my local beer place to get afew of these, I'll probably post back in a week or two, or three, hopefully, asking for more advice!

              1. re: n00b

                I suggest reading Garrett Oliver's book, "The Brewmaster's Table". He covers all the styles, several good examples of each, and food pairings for them all. It's a great read. You can get it pretty cheap on Amazon.

            2. When I "graduated" from Budweiser (no wonder I never liked beer!) I gravitated towards Pete's Wicked Ale and Saranac's Ale (probably the pale ale - I don't recall). Keep in mind that back in the day (the day when Sam Adams was still seen as a "microbrew") these were among a handful of options out there. I still enjoy Pete's quite a bit, but there is much better selection now.

              If you can find them, Boont Amber Ale and Moose Drool might be to your liking. Still on the malty side, not too heavy, and starting to get a bit more hop flavor. The distributors jack the price WAY up in the Boston area for these, but you might be able to find them for a reasonable price elsewhere.

              1. Moose Drool makes for a great dessert beer. I would liken it more to a Scotch Ale.

                1. When I first entered this stage I was easily sated by either Fat Tire of Abita's Purple Haze. In fact I drank Honey Brown and Purple Haze fairly religiously at the phase and made little room for exceptions. You might also like a tastier porter or a chocolate stout.

                  1. take a peek here:


                    excellent descriptions of all beer styles, along with classic examples of each one. there's a lot of info there, so it may be a bit much, but there ya go :)

                    1. Check out Ratebeer.com for thousands of ratings by style - ratebeer encourages detailed descriptions, I have found many great beers using their online guides.

                      1. Pet Peeve - I was at a brewpub today. And like many brewpubs they provide a diagram of their brewing process. Here is the part that bugs me: why is it in many beer periodicals, journals, books (and brewpub diagrams apparently) that lager yeast and ale yeast are merely described as "bottom fermenting" and "top fermenting" respectively and that's it? What about how each affects the flavor of the beer? To me this is one of the critical factors in beer appreciation.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Chinon00

                          i think that i see where you're coming from now on the wine thread.....there are hundreds of strains of yeast which result in so very many different flavors for beer, and not so many for wine?