Beers for the Non-Beer Drinker

Posted on March 11th, 2010

Many people the world over love beer, but there are some folks out there who unfortunately, are just not too keen on the stuff. Often this can be because they’ve never had a proper introduction to all the different tastes and variety that beer has to offer. Sadly in America almost all of the beer one will be causally exposed to is exactly one type- the light lager. This is unfortunate because as we’ve tried to show, there is an endless array of different flavors and tastes that beer is capable off.

As the craft beer movement continues to grow steadily throughout the US more and more people are encountering new and interesting beers beyond the pilsner to explore. Unfortunately some folks’ first encounter with craft beer still may not win them over. Perhaps they tried a spicy IPA when hops just isn’t for them, or a rich and creamy Guinness when the sweet taste isn’t their style. Without knowing any better, such an encounter my lead someone to give up on beer entirely. I believe there is a beer out there for everyone. It’s with this in mind that we present some suggestions for how to introduce beer to someone who prefers other types of alcoholic drinks.

Wine – If you prefer wine you probably enjoy subtle, smooth flavors and may find the sometimes brash and bold tastes of beer to be too much. If that is the case I would recommend try some nice Belgian beers. Belgium has a strong brewing history and beers from this small country are regularly regarded as some of the best in the world. The most famous Belgian beers are actually made by Trappist monks in a tradition dating back centuries. The Belgian Tripel such as Chimay Tripel is great for white wine drinkers while the double and quad will be good for red wine enthusiasts. Try Chimay Red or Blue if that’s what interests you.

Gin – I’ve always found gin spicy, slightly bitter and smooth. With this is mind I’d recommend the hoppier German style beers. To start with a real pilsner (not the pale imitation of them passed off by Coors and the like) is a great place to start. Prima Pils from Victory is an amazing American craft pilsner. Sam Adams Noble Pils is also a great new version with a great hop flavor. A Helles lager like Weihenstephaner Original is also lovely.

Burbon/Whiskey – If dark and full flavored is your thing, give rye beer a try, with something like Founder’s Red Rye. Also Barleywine might suit your tastes, try Serra Nevada Big Foot for that, or Old Horizontal from Victory. Give a Dopplebock a try too, such as the classic one, Celebrator.

Rum – Sweeter beers might be good for a rum drinker, so something like a milk stout might be a good idea, such as Left Hand Milk Stout. Wheat wine is also good for this type of taste, my favorite of this style is Smuttynose. Also a dark wheat beer like a dunkelweizen, say Weihenstephaner Dark, would probably go well also.

Vodka – A beer that’s clean and smooth might be a good match for a vodka drinker. For that I’d recommend something like a Belgian wit. This style has received a lot of attention thanks to Blue Moon’s surprising popularity. Because Blue Moon is made by Coors, some are reluctant to drink it. Other great examples of the style include Hoegaarden (owned by Anheuser-Busch), Allagash White and Blanche De Chambly from Uniboue.

I don’t mean to imply with the above recommendations that each type of alcohol tastes similar to beers I’ve paired with them, but rather that someone who enjoys each alcohol might find similar things to enjoy with each beer. If you disagree with any of the above suggestions or have a specific question in mind feel free to ask us, either in the comments below, on Twitter or Tumblr.


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