If you are new to the world of craft beer you may find beer styles like stouts and IPA’s off-putting. You might read home brewing blogs and beer review sites like Beer Advocate and notice that these styles dominate the lists of top beers, and you might have a difficult time understanding it. I’ve been there and I understand how you feel. Here are three reasons that you might not love strong beer styles…yet.
1. Bitterness is An Acquired Taste
The literature says that bitterness is an acquired taste for all people, so each of us needs to work our way into it. For the first couple of years after I turned 21 I would not go anywhere near the extreme ends of the beer spectrum. When you read beer reviews and listen to home brewers talk you might think that the only quality beers in the world are stouts and IPA’s. It is true that these are the beers with flavor that really stand out, but when you are first venturing into the craft beer scene it takes a while to be able to palate these flavors.
2. Soft Drinks Have Killed Our Finer Perceptions of Taste
After twenty or more years of drinking soda, fruit juice, and other sweet beverages we are not prepared for the harsher taste and texture of beer. Beverages like soft drinks have destroyed our sense of taste – that blast of sugar overwhelms your senses with a single artificial flavor which doesn’t leave any room for finer tones to be appreciated. You don’t drink a Pepsi and note a slight smokiness or hints of espresso in the flavor. Instead, you are slammed with the essence of super-carbonated “Pepsi-ness.” Learning to appreciate layers of flavors and aromas is a large part of learning to appreciate beers, especially the stronger styles.
3. You Haven’t Tried Enough Variety
My best advice for learning to enjoy strong beer styles is to try a variety of them. Beer really is an acquired taste. I tried forcing down many beers that I didn’t like once I turned 21, but it wasn’t until I discovered amber and brown ales that I started to enjoy sitting down with a beer. I didn’t like any IPA’s until I found the well-balanced Bell’s Two Hearted Ale, which is a strong IPA that has a lot more flavor to it than just hops. I didn’t like darker beers until I tried Anchor Porter. Your break-through beer might just be the next one you try.
Is there a style of beer that you are still learning to appreciate?