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Finally acquired a taste for beer - what's next

So I've recently been hanging out with a friend who is a big Miller Lite fan, and somehow, after years of hating beer, I can drink one without grimacing. I'm determined to cultivate this because i'm sick of paying too much for mixed drinks only for them to be gone in minutes.

I am well aware that Miller Lite is not what you would call a quality beer, and I'd like to continue my beer education without just haphazardly picking ones to try (this led to me buying a scotch ale that will never be drunk)

So, any suggestions for decent beer that will not be too strong for a newbie?

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  1. Oh my. The world of beer is, um, big and hugely varied. Learn a little about the styles and flavor profiles and try them. It's like wine - there's no right and there's no wrong. Try some sourish lagers and light pils and some rich malty darks and sweet porters and some hoppy ales. Fortunately, the micro-brew phenomenon is booming, and there are distinct and creative high quality beers everywhere. Lots of good information and loads of knowledgeable beer drinkers at http://beeradvocate.com/

    Start here: http://beeradvocate.com/beer/style

    When you taste beer, look at it, smell it, and take enough to fill your mouth. You can't taste beer with the tip of your tongue!

    4 Replies
      1. re: chuckl

        Good point. I am not so keen on sour lagers.

          1. re: chuckl

            I think all are, no? I can't think of any sour lagers. Berliner weisse and gose are the only two candidates I could think of and they're top fermented.

        1. Best advice I can give you... in fact this is a secret until now...

          Use the ratebeer.com ratings BUT... (this is the secret)... there are two ratings...

          One for the beer itself and one for how it ranks in it's category. For example, you will see alot of beers ranked 98 or even 99... but when you look at the rating in the category it's only 91 or 92... sometimes not even that. At least initially pass those up. Stick with the 99-97's or better...

          Secondly, just taste a wide variety of types: pale ales, wheats, barleywines, stouts, imperial this and that, belgian ales, fruit beers, etc. etc... find the categories you like then compare different offerings within each category. Taste them blind when possible.

          Also, DO NOT drink any quality microbrew out of a bottle... great beer, like great wine, must be aereated. I pour my beers a little harder than most... I'm always warned not to "stir up the yeast", but it's never bothered me and I'd rather have the beer well aereated with a full perfume than closed up which is what you can get with a slow cautious pour down the side... this of course is more a matter of taste.

          Enjoy!

          1. Please tell us your approximate location so that we may make some recommendations based on what is available in your area. Many of the craft beers are not available in all areas of the country.
            Check with some of the local liqour stores - they may offer beer tastings. Also, some bars may offer beer flights allowing you to taste several beer styles without having to buy a glass of something that you don't really like.

            3 Replies
              1. re: kobes18

                You're in beer heaven. For on-site tasting visit these phenomenal bars for great range of microbrews:

                The Map Room
                The Hop Leaf
                Sheffields
                Clark Street Ale House

                Resi's is great venue for vast range of German beers on tap and bottle and matching foods.

                For retail purchasing with tremendous selection of quality brews for all over, visit the Binny's around 3000 N. Clark or the old Sam's around North and Clybourn.

                1. re: TombstoneShadow

                  Append to that list a new place called Haymarket Pub, 750 Randolph.

                  Never been there, it's apparently an on-site brew pub, but it also has a list of "guest beers" including: Dreadnaught IPA (IMO the best IPA on the planet, especially on draft) a very rare find on tap, and G-I Bourbon County Stout, a phenomenal imperial stout... those 2 alone make it a beer drinker's dream venue.... if their own brews are good that's an added plus.

                  Also there was a place a few blocks west of Halsted in Greektown, forget the name but they always had a real respectable list of microbrews on tap.

                1. re: bbqboy

                  Had interesting Scotch Ale experience not long ago... I don't really care for the stuff on the shelf... but a friend of mine made a batch of homebrew SA awhile back and it was completely right... like a super IPA without the bitter edges...

                  1. re: bbqboy

                    I'm not saying that I will never like it, but I think that it was a little bit overly ambitious for me to try it at this point. I found it extremely strong, and not in a good way.

                    1. re: kobes18

                      I can definitely see how a Scotch Ale would be a big jump for someone who has just managed to choke down a Miller Lite for the first time! As much as I love a lot of the beers people have recommended here, if you are truly STARTING at Miller Lite I would go easy before charging toward all these Imperial IPAs and sours and Imperial Stouts... Might freak you out so much that you lose the beer desire before its fully formed. I would instead look at some Birtish Milds if you can find them. Some decent German Lagers (there are tons of good german bars around Damien and Lincoln - Resi's Bierstube and Glunz Bavarian Haus are two of my favorites) would be a good starting choice too. Maybe a Bittburger or a Weihenstephaner or something like that. No bocks or dunkels or anything like that (at first). Just straight ahead standard German lagers. And perhaps look for blonde ales as well which tend to be the true missing link between american light beers and good micro beer ales. If these work for you THEN maybe move on to the ambers and the reds and some easy going pilsners and maybe a conservative pale ale of some sort. The Map Room can be an intimidating place for a beer virgin but on a quiet day as people have suggested you can always ask the bartender to find you something along the lines of what we are talking about here. I wouldnt, however, walk in and say HI! IM A MILLER LITE DRINKER! WHADAYA GOT LIKE THAT! OH AND I NEED A MAP OF WISCONSIN! :D

                      1. re: Insidious Rex

                        The tip on British Milds is a very good one, as they are great companions to German Lagers.

                  2. order a Guiness. Close your eyes and think chocolate, coffee, and dark brown bread. Don't think beer. Drink and remark how much you enjoy this chocolatey iced coffee made from dark brown bread. :)

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: seamunky

                      I still remember my first Guiness....I did close my eyes, wasn't a hit with me - but I was in Ireland and figured there must be something to it - tried it again in a few other pubs - actual differences based on how they keep it...

                      Anyway - have not looked back - and if I might add to original poster - I cannot do anything with Miller Lite these days besides cook with it or make the occasional pitcher of BeerCocktails for summer picnics or football parties.....