The Beer Counselor Is In: Buy A Friend A Beer

Let’s say you are at work hanging out in the break room having a morning coffee or eating your lunch.  You’re minding your own business checking Twitter or Facebook when a guy you’re friendly with stops by your table.  “Hey, you like that craft beer don’t you?”

Looking up from your telephone with a mixture of confusion and confusion, “Yeah.  I drink craft beer.  I like my beer to taste like more than just fizzy water.”

“I’ve been reading a lot about IPAs and stuff and wondered if you could recommend anything for me to try to start out?”

What do you do?  My first suggestion is to not get him a Hopslam or Pliny the Younger.  He’s read about IPAs, he has no idea what they are.

What would I suggest?  Funny you should ask.  Here is a list of ways I would suggest you get your curious friend into craft beers.

  1. Take him to a good craft beer bar (one a lot like this one) and buy his first flight. Pick out good beers that ramp up to the hoppier versions of IPAs. Most good bars give you four to five beers for a flight.  Start off with a good blonde or wheat (those should be plentiful if you do this in spring or summer), then go to a nice safe pale ale, next follow up with the least hoppy IPA you can find, and finish with a DIPA.  Now, if there is a good stout or porter available, end with that, and if you have enough choices and brown ale is available substitute that for the pale or not to hoppy IPA.
  2. If you don’t live near a good craft beer bar, go to your local bottle shop and if that isn’t available, most grocery stores now have selections of craft beer you can buy by the bottle in mixed six-packs. Buy the guy some beers, invite him over to watch football, baseball, basketball, soccer, or whatever and just hang out drinking with him.  Keep in mind the same kind of ramping up from the flights.  Don’t throw the guy in the deep end immediately.
  3. If you do either try to explain to the guy what he is drinking. Don’t get too detailed. If he wants to know the brewing process, the hop bill, or the malt bill for each beer, he can do that on his own.  Just let him know what kind of taste to expect from each beer.
  4. If he doesn’t wretch, make bitter beer face, or (hopefully) finds one style or one beer he really likes, figure out a way to make this a regular occurrence. If he likes the beers he tried he is hooked anyway and you have a new drinking buddy.  Take him to a brewery, go on a tour, and hang out in the tasting room.  If the smell of freshly brewing beer doesn’t make him a craft beer lifer, nothing will.

Now, hopefully you have taken someone curious about craft beer and turned them away from fizzy water forever.  The important thing, was the guy was already curious.  He asked you and showed interest. That to me is the most important thing about enjoying craft beer: remaining curious.  Finding new tastes and flavors and new beers and breweries is part of the reason I love this community so.

I have two longer form things coming up in the next week or two.  One is a book review and the other is something I think I will be really proud to complete and publish when it is done.  Until next week.