SIX BEERS FOR NON BEER DRINKERS

So you want to try some of the interesting-looking bottles from the interesting off-licence, but you don’t know where to start? You think you’d feel a bit silly explaining that you usually stick to wine or generic lager, and you prefer not to waste your money on things you don’t really know much about? Well, that needn’t continue. Here are a few reasonably easily available beers for you to try; some are on sale in UK supermarkets, but if not, find any decent beer shop and you should be in luck.

You usually drink…

RED WINE

Think about trying…

KASTEEL ROUGE

This dark, full-bodied Belgian beer is blended with cherry liqueur, giving it a rather tart, sometimes sweet taste. Red wine drinkers will probably feel they recognise some of the fruit flavours, so it won’t be a complete leap in the dark, but there’s far more going on here than in an average red wine – so there’s plenty to reward your curiosity.

You usually drink:

WHITE WINE/PROSECCO

Think about trying…

LINDEMAN’S APPLE LAMBIC

An amber-coloured, easy-drinking beer with a relatively low ABV at 3.5% – very refreshing, but without the unpleasant sugar spike of an alcopop, and it definitely still tastes like a beer. This is great chilled, just like white wine, and may encourage you to branch out into other similar styles (fruit lambics, or if you don’t mind the more acidic flavours, geuze beers).

You usually drink:

SPIRITS MIXED WITH ORANGE JUICE/ORANGE DRINK

Think about trying…

BEAVERTOWN BLOODY ‘ELL BLOOD ORANGE IPA

Strong notes of sweet orange prop up the hoppier, more conventional IPA flavour profile in this great British beer (available in 330ml cans, which increases the chance that you can get your hands on this one.) It’s lightly carbonated, which adds to the refreshing flavour overall. Whilst quite a strong ABV (7.2%) this suits sipping if you’re to best appreciate it.

You usually drink:

SPIRITS MIXED WITH COLA

Think about trying…

MEANTIME CHOCOLATE PORTER

A big part of the taste profile of cola is in the vanilla used, so a decent chocolate porter made with real chocolate and vanilla could be a good way forward. There’s no hoppy hit here, either, so no massive clashes in flavours you’re used to and the flavours you’re about to experience. If you like what you try, then you could move onto some other dark, sweet stouts, such as BrewDog’s Jet Black Heart.

You usually drink…

SPIRITS MIXED WITH LEMONADE OR TONIC

Think about trying…

MAGIC ROCK HIGHWIRE GRAPEFRUIT IPA

Particularly if you’re used to drinking tonic water, you’ll be good to go with the flavours at hand in this sweet, grapefruit flavoured India Pale Ale. Grapefruit, like hops, can be rather astringent but there isn’t any of that here: accompanying flavours are lighter than you might expect. Again, Magic Rock have the facility to can their beers, so this one should be able to travel far and wide.

You usually drink…

LAGER

Think about trying…

NORTHERN MONK BOMBAY DAZZLER INDIAN WITBEER

Whilst your lager usually has a low flavour profile (and, depending on the lager you drink, the risk of some unpleasant add-ons) you’re probably at least used to the fact that your alcoholic drinks aren’t sweet in flavour, so making the leap to this Northern Monk beer shouldn’t be too much of a large one. If you take the plunge, you’ll be rewarded with a slightly spiced, but still quaffable drink which goes great with spicy food (as it was co-developed in part by an Indian brewery before being finalised by the Bundobust chain, which specialises in Indian cuisine.) At 4.7%, it’s not wildly different in strength to many of the best-known lagers out there, but you’ll surely agree that it packs in a lot more flavour. And, if you like this one, think of it as a gateway beer either to other witbiers (Denmark’s Mikkeller do a number of these) or to new styles altogether – such as the US brewer Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale, which also has some quite spicy notes to it.

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