How do you turn people on to beer?

I've just finished writing an article for Jamie's wine blog on "Beer for Wine lovers". A sort of whistlestop introduction to beer for people who already have a keen interest in flavour, and the sister article to the excellent piece Jamie wrote for this blog. It wasn't easy to write.

How do you condense the almost unexplainable understanding of what constitutes 'good beer' into a blog length article? How do you explain what the different ingredients and processes involved in the brewing of beer do, and why that matters? Or I suppose what I'm getting at is, how do you turn people on to beer?

Looking at my own experiences, a friend of mine is now a full-on beer geek (Hi Neil), and another is on his way (hi James), and both of these guys started to get in to beer from drinking in bars and pubs. Whether it was a bar that I'd dragged them along to, or them opting for something a bit more adventurous when drinking with other mates, they definitely got properly into what I would consider 'good beer' through trying different beers in pubs.

Of course the egomaniac in me would say it's all my doing, that my gentle coercion over the years has shown them the light, but I don't think that's the case. You can't really make someone 'get into' beer, all you can really do is share the beers and bars you like with friends and hope that something sticks. Effectively plant that seed of interest which might make someone try a new beer when faced with a range of choices, and hope that they like it enough to do it again.

So what do you think really turns people on to beer? My two mates were already beer drinkers, and I'm not even sure my input had any real baring on their newfound interest in 'craft beer', but what about none beer drinkers?

How do we convince them?



  1. I know it sounds naff, but I really do think that 'try the beer' is all it takes, because it's all it took me. For years I only knew about mass produced lager and 'boring brown beer', but when I tasted Brooklyn Lager I was blown away! I literally had no idea that beer could taste and smell so good. All of a sudden there was a whole new world of beer to discover. And you can go backwards from the big flavours of craft beer - once you become used to tasting those, I think your palate adjusts, and picks up so much more that is subtle in an ale, or appreciate the hopping of a good lager.

    So I agree, just share the beers you love. But perhaps don't start with the triple IPAs.

  2. I agree to a certain extent, but, i do find that extreme beers can act to knock peoples perceptions of beer off track.

    So giving somebody who loves tart white wines a gueuze, or somebody who loves big thick reds an old strong ale. Big beers are sometimes good gateway beers, it depends on the tact you take, and the recipient.