As a long time beer fan, I have had the opportunity to bring new friends onto the craft beer bandwagon many times. It is a fun thing to do, but if you don’t do it right you might scare them away.
Know Your Beers
The first step to bringing in a friend to the world of craft beer is to be an expert in everything beer. You should know your beer styles, flavors, and comparable to popular beers around your region.
While most of us beer snobs would try to find a new, obscure beer every time we head to the tap house, it is a great idea to stay on top of popular beers in your area. In Denver, for example, beers from New Belgium Brewery might not seem very exciting anymore, but everyone knows Fat Tire and a lot of people like it.
While it is important to know the old standbys like Fat Tire, it is also great to be on the cutting edge and try everything new you can to hold your title as a resident beer expert.
Know What They Will Like
Get to know your friends’ beer tastes and help them find a craft beer they will like. While I know the best beer fans are hop heads like me, everyone does not love a quad IPA. Some people like a stout. Some like a brown ale. Others like an amber ale.
If you really know your beers, as we discussed above, you can help your friend find a beer they will like when you go out on a beer drinking adventure.
When I recently went out for a beer with a friend who was new in the beer drinking world, let’s call him Dima, he looked like he was about to run away from beer forever when he had a taste of my IPA. He only liked what he called “light beers,” so I knew I had a challenge to get him on the bandwagon.
Give Them Multiple Options
Going from light beer to good beer is a big jump. To do so, it is a good idea to give multiple options. I helped Dima pick two beers that night. First, I suggested a local lager that might fit into the “light beer” world while breaking out of the giant macro-brewing box. A good local option is Buffalo Gold from Boulder Beer.
The next step we took was a little out of the box, but still easy on the palate. I introduced Dima to a solid unfiltered wheat. When he took a sip, I knew we had a winner.
Ever since, I have seen Dima try a handful of wheat beers and break out of the crappy beer box. As his tastes have grown, I have been impressed to see him give many other beers a try, even 120 Minute IPA from Dogfish Head.
Your Stories and Questions
Have you ever been in a situation where you were trying to bring a friend over from the dark side? Share your comments, stories, and questions in the comments.
Image by Lomo-Cam / flickr