Saturday, September 6, 2008


During a very interesting 3 hour discussion with one of my best friends today, the topic of beer came up. Imagine that. Kind of like that conversation you have with your friends about the first time you did it, we started discussing the first time we ever had a craft brew, and why we started drinking it in the first place.

The first microbrew my friend remembers drinking was Fat Tire from New Belgium. (This was several years ago!) He said that he started drinking it, not so much for the taste, but more for the fact that it made him seem different, like he wasn't just going along with what the commercials aimed at his demographic told him that he should be drinking. The first artisanal beer that I loved was Lost Coast Great White. I drank that one, because, at the time I hated bitter beers (My, how things change.)

We came up with a list of five American craft beers that we thought would make great starter beers for those of you who are new to the world of craft beer. These are baby steps into the world of great beer that you can safely take when you feel like differentiating yourself but not getting too extreme.

Lost Coast Great White,
Eureka, CA:
I mentioned before that this was my first starter beer! This is a Belgian style white ale. It's a wheat beer that is fermented with lemongrass. I've talked about this beer before, because it's delicious, refreshing and will introduce your palate to new flavors in beer. Light and bright mouthfeel, this beer is the bees knees.

4.8% ABV.

Victory Prima Pils, Downingtown, PA:
This is an effing great beer. Light in color and body, crisp and dry. This beer has good hops, but has a good balance. Just the right amount of bitterness with some herbaceous notes. Its a totally drinkable, clean beer. You'll be starting on a high note with this one.
5.3% ABV.

Rogue Dead Guy Ale, Newport, OR:
This beer sounds scarier than it is. If you are looking for something that may be a little bit on the sweeter side, this is your starter beer. This is a delicious dopplebock style beer with hints of caramel and toffee. Still light-bodied enough to avoid being cloying, I've turned several women on to beer with this recommendation!
6.5% ABV

Deschutes Mirror Pond, Bend, OR: This beer is a nice, decent American Pale Ale. Its got a bit of grapefruit rind citrus on the nose that's balanced out by some woody, toasty dryness. This actually reminds me more of an ESB and finished with a touch of honey. It's a simple, well-balanced, easy to drink beer.
5.5% ABV.

Allagash White
Portland, ME:
This is a complex beer - but the neophyte can get it too. Like the Great White, this beer is a Belgian style white ale or witbier brewed with wheat. But this one sticks to tradition brewing with coriander and curacao bitter orange peel. This beer is delicious and has a beginning, a distinct middle and a fabulous finish.

5.0% ABV.

Written by The Beer Chick, September 7, 2008

Get Beer for Chick's Feed


  1. Great suggestions. I think the Rogue Dead Guy was one of the first craft brews I tried - great pick. I got a friend of mine to try the Allagash White the other day as well and they were a huge fan, too.

  2. Hi - my first visit! I have introduced men and women to craft beer by serving Gordon Biersch Marzen. It's a lager so the hop flavor is more subtle, but amber enough that it has some sweetness and depth. I find it to be a really nice building block.

    Great White is also a great suggestion, as are other wheat beers. Widmer, Pyramid, and Blue Moon are not crafty enough for my taste (Coors? I'm too snobby for that ;-D) but they are definitely more flavorful than the macro lagers.

  3. I guess my Joke about American beer doesn't apply to the craft brews. =)

    I've heard you guys have some great stuff. I've just gotten into some different beers myself - I'm a big fan of the Wits (Whites).

    It's amazing how good craft brews are compared to the generics. Gives a girl hope. I'm just starting to brew my own beer as well - next on the agenda is a Wit - yay!

    Oh, and the joke.

    What do American beer and sex in a canoe have in common?

    They're both fucking close to water =).

  4. Rogue Dead Guy is the one that started it for me in the late 90s. I picked it up because the bottle looked cool and really enjoyed it. From then on I started trying tons of different beers.

  5. my first was also fat tire! probably a combination of growing up in colorado and preferring less popular things. i've turned a lot of friends on to better beer with sierra nevada pale ale, which is widely available and super drinkable.

  6. Great list. I've had the Victory Prima Pils and would agree its good and I have the Dead Guy in the fridge (sounds weird, right?) and will try it soon! Thanks!

  7. Thanks for the quick tutorial, I'll definitely refer to it over the holidays, and maybe learn to like something new. Maybe I'll even fit in at a party.

  8. I really hope you've had the chance to try Great White on tap - a MILLION times better than in the bottle.

    SO lucky I live in Arcata, with 4 breweries within 10 miles (Six Rivers, Mad River, Lost Coast, Eel River). WIN!