Colleen Dorsey, who is writing a piece for the July issue of Style Magazine about “Baltimore Beer: A Satisfying History of Charm City Brewing,” asked me a question recently that gave me pause. What beer would I recommend for a beginner?
I tried to think of what kind of brew would probably welcome someone into the fold of beer lovers.
I ended up saying a “session” beer low in alcohol, or a fruit beer, such as the Sour Cherry served at The Brewer’s Art, which has a pleasingly tart fruit flavor, yet is still suds.
I wasn’t really pleased with my answer, so I quickly polled a handful of local brewers. Here is what they said.
- Hugh Sisson, of Heavy Seas Beers: mild lager or pale ale.
- Volker Stewart, of The Brewers Art: Some folks love hops, some folks love some hops and yet others still find them abhorrent. I would send a beginner in a malty or fruity direction, something like the Sour Cherry or even the Resurrection.
- Stephen Jones, of Oliver Breweries at Pratt Street Ale House: Best Bitter, 4.8% alcohol by volume, so not too “big,” with a nice balance of malt and hop (ie., not too bitter!) it has a low level of carbonation (not fizzy!) and is very smooth with a nice, soft mouthfeel.
Any other nominees for beginner beers?
P.S. The answer to yesterday’s quiz was: C. Sewing Old Glory on the brewery floor.