Beer 101: A quick guide for newbies

 Overwhelmed by craft beer and don’t know where to begin? Don’t worry – we’re here to help.

 Where to start? Beers come in two forms, ales and lagers, and the difference is in how they’re brewed. In simple form, ales tend to be more complex in flavors and make up most of the styles. Lagers are more popular, though, and focus on crisp and clean flavors.

What should I start with? Pick up a few lagers from our site and compare them with what you are used to, like a Stella Artois or San Miguel. Try a light pale ale or two, a wheat beer (they’re called wits or Weiss beers usually) and a dark beer, like a porter.

What’s the goal? To find out what you like, and what you don’t like. Do you like the roasted flavors of porters and stouts? Do you like the bitterness of hops in pale ales? If, so then try another beer similar to it – go from a pale ale to an IPA, or from a porter to a stout, or from a regular pale ale to a sour pale ale. Work up in strength and complexity. 

What shouldn’t I start with? Anything with the word “Imperial” in the name, which usually means strong flavors. Avoid anything above 7% in alcohol. Skip sour beers at first.

Cans or bottles? It's your call. The biggest enemy of beer is heat and light, so cans protect better against light, but some like the aesthetics of a glass bottle. But overall, the beer will be no different between the two. 

But I just want to buy a few beers for friends! No problem. You can’t go wrong with Tuatara Pilsner, no matter the crowd. It’s approachable for someone new to beer, but complex enough for a craft beer veteran.

Can you recommend 6 beers to start with? Sure!


OK, I’m ready for Round Two: What next?

OK, we’re going to move you up to some more advanced and complex beers:


OK, what after that?

What if I just want to get a gift for my wife/husband/friend/business partner and don’t know what to pick? Either pick one of our variety packs, or get them a Beer of the Month subscription.

What if I need more info? Send us an email at Or give us a call during our normal office hours, and we can be your beer sommelier. We love craft beer, and we love to get others hooked on it, too.