I’ll admit it. I used to be a typical beer chugging college kid. I had no clue that there was even a different type of beer besides that cold crisp watery yellow liquid. I used to judge beers based 1) the awesomeness of their commercials 2) the price on the 30 pack, and 3) which cheap beer was easiest to drink fast. I used to think that I was classy if I ordered a Corona instead of a Bud Light. I drank Dos Equis because the most interesting man in the world preferred it. I had respect for my friends who could chug a red solo cup of beer in less than three seconds – and I used to feel ashamed of my inability to shot-gun a beer without getting teary eyed and finishing in last place. I always assumed that holding a blue can of beer would automatically come with two hot girls and party train that came out of the wall.
Yes, college was a time of little responsibility, peer pressure, and lots of cheap tasteless beer. However, times change and luckily I found out what real beer tasted like.
When I was first introduced into craft beer, it was at Marin Brewing Company. I ordered their Marin Hefeweiss not having any clue what a hefeweizen beer meant. It was light, smelled of bananas, cloves, and had a very sweet nose (aka: that fluffy white stuff on the top of the beer that smells so good). What I noticed the most was the different texture of the beer. Cheap beer is dominated with carbonation, almost like corn flavored seltzer water. This beer was smooth, flavorful, and had more volume than the beer I was used to. I came to realize that the hefeweizen beers are a great introduction to craft beer. “Hefe” means yeast in German, and “Weiss” means white. Wheat beers (weissbier) tend to be lighter in color, have fruity aromas, and be less bitter than other craft beers like Indian pale ales (IPAs) and pilsners. I like to call these beers that are lighter in alcohol and less bitter “beginner” beers because beer drinkers beginning their journey through new craft beer won’t get overwhelmed with the strong different flavors of other beers.
Wheat Beers I Recommend:
Stout and Porter Beers
The next beers in my journey were the stout and porter beers. Stouts tend to be full of chocolate notes and are low in carbonation. These beers have a smooth and creamy texture and are excellent beers to sip on after work or enjoy with a meal. Because of their dark and smooth characteristics, they pair well with spicy foods and desserts. Porters have similar characteristics, but have stronger coffee notes. I prefer a stout over a porter because it’s smoother and I’d rather enjoy a smooth chocolate flavor over a roasted coffee flavor. However, all you Starbucks fans might like the stouts more.
These beers aren’t necessarily brewed with coffee beans and chocolate, but the combinations of the barley, hops, and yeasts create such remarkable tastes. Brewmasters’ have this special ability to create different flavors with various ingredients – and even create tastes and aromas where the apparent ingredient is absent! I would place porters and stouts into beginner beers because they are easy to drink, not very bitter, and go well with many foods.
Porters I Recommend:
Stouts I Recommend:
Anderson Valley Oatmeal Stout (Existing Review!)
Lagunitas Imperial Stout (Existing Review!)
Next up in my “How I Became a Craft Beer Drinker”: Pale Ales, Ambers, Lagers, and Pilsners.