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Tasting Suggestions

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roofpig

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Fellow beer lovers, I come to you with a request! I am planning out a "tasting party" which will happen in a couple of months. The people I'm inviting will be, for the most part, unfamiliar with most craft beers and imports other than the sparse offerings in the supermarket. I have a personal list of beers that I want to have available for people to try (as well as my homebrewed stout, which will just about be ready to taste by that point), but I wanted to take some suggestions from you folks.

If you could, leave me the names of a couple of beers you think would be good beers for first timers, the style it is, and a maybe a quick description. I can't guarantee I'll be able to find everything that's mentioned, but I'll be glad to research what I can.

Thanks!
 

fifelee

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Personally, much of the enjoyment of craft beers are the stories behind the making of the beer. Things like how Sam Calagione made his first 60 Minute using one of the electric Football toys.

It is also a good idea to go local. It can be hard to get non craft drinkers to break out of their routine. But most people do like supporting local business, which helps to break down some barriers.
 

Chudz

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I would suggest Chimay blue label. The Grande Reserve is eloquent and more palatable to non-enthusiasts. It doesn't have the horse-blanket smell/taste of some Belgians, which can be a turn-off for some. Plus, it has a decent ABV that isn't overpowering in taste.

Obviously, take this with a grain of salt as I am a fan of most, if not all, Belgian beers. I'm still hoping that Belgium will adopt me in the near future.
 
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Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA is a great one for your audience. The first time I tasted it, all I could taste was hops. I thought it was the hoppiest beer in the world. Now that my palate is a bit more refined, I actually find it to be a bit malty for the style! I guess the bottom line is that it's an excellent beer to showcase a bit of hop aroma and flavor while still keeping some malt in the foreground - a sure win for a crowd with budding interest in craft brewing.

Anchor Porter is an outstanding porter that is a little on the sweet side. Though the roasted notes are definitely present, there's enough malty sweetness to keep it tame.

Sierra Nevada's Bigfoot Barleywine is also tame for the style. Serve it in small samples, as it is definitely full flavored and a big glass of it may not be palatable to the novice. However, it's well balanced and a fine example of the style.
 
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