Baltimore Beer

What beer is best for a beginner?

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. 



2 thoughts on “What beer is best for a beginner?

  1. There seems (to me at least) to be a natural development of the palate in regards to beer flavors beginning with familiar flavors like biscuit, bread, banana, coffee, chocolate, caramel, etc. Appreciation for hops seems to come a little later and funky “barnyard” flavors still later. I think beginners seem to appreciate malt forward beers with varying degrees of roast. Marzen, Porter, Stout, & Hefe would be my recommendations.

    Posted by UnionJon | April 25, 2012, 10:45 am
  2. I just took a New Holland Golden Cap Saison to a house party and it was well-recieved by a few wine and champagne drinkers. I think Saison’s in general could be a good one to ply others away from wine and champagne. Also wheat beers.

    I have also done two Rauchbiers that have been rather well-received by many “non-craft” beer drinking friends.

    Do not recommend Deviant Dale’s though. The wife is still perturbed at me for having her taste that one.

    Posted by Joe C | May 1, 2012, 1:50 pm

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