If you’ve just had your 1st craft beer or your 500th, and you’re wondering where to go next, I’ve got a couple of tips. These helped me get going when I discovered craft beer and provide new directions to explore the world of beer.
1) Variety Packs
An excellent way to start this is by buying 12-bottle variety packs. I like these because you can check out multiple beers from a single brewery. Most breweries that bottle have these including some of our locals like Rivertown, Moerlein, and Mt. Carmel. They usually have three bottles of four different beers representing three standard beers and the current seasonal.
2) Bottle Shop Tastings
Quite a few places around town, like our friends at Cappy’s Wine & Spirits, host weekly tastings where you can try a couple of beers for a couple of bucks. So you get to socialize, usually have a few snacks, and try a bunch of new beer! If you find something you love, buy a bomber, 6-pack, or growler to bring home.
3) Tap Rooms
On the same line as the tastings. All of Cincinnati’s local breweries have a taproom where you can get a flight of the beers on tap. A flight is four or six different beers of your choice in 4-ounce tasting glasses. The folks who work the taprooms know their beer so talk to them about what you do and don’t like, and they’ll guide you to new delicious discoveries.
4) A Social Beer Network
This has two main benefits. That first gets you a group of friends to have a bottle share with. A bottle share is simple; everyone brings 1 or 2 beers, and everyone tries 2 or 3 ounces of each beer. This is a great and fun way to try a lot of beers. Especially if you throw in a card game, picnic, or just conversation.
For number 2, you can’t have eyes and ears at every brewery or bottle shop. If you have a decent network of friends, you’ll get to try more beers than if you work alone. Just remember to pay it forward and pay it back when you get a chance.
5) Break Out of Your Mold
It seems the majority of craft beer enthusiasts get introduced through the IPA. There’s nothing wrong with this. The problem arises when folks get stuck in the rut of only drinking IPAs. There are over 100 other styles of beer so get out there and try the different ones. Never heard of a Rauchbier? Try it! You can’t know if you’ll hate it till you try it.
6) Keep an Open Mind
Okay, so you did step out of your comfort zone with one beer in one style and were disgusted. Try some others from that style before deciding you don’t like that style. IPAs have left the land of being only bitter bombs. Sours can range from face sucking sour to only slightly tart and can come in almost any fruit imaginable. Plus your palate and preference will likely change over time.
Have you done all these things and feel like you have a great knowledge of beer but still want to step up your game? Then it’s time to bring a new friend along. Go through all the above things with them and see what you rediscover! Plus you’ll have another tongue to talk to that could change how you view and perceive things.
If you have any other ideas for how people can get into craft beer or up their craft beer game, please share them in the comments!