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What were your gateway beers?

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The Professor:

--- Quote from: mabrungard on January 15, 2013, 08:34:35 AM ---Wow, I must be weird.  I didn't get into 'craft' beers until after I had started homebrewing.  ...

--- End quote ---

Then I guess even weirder... my very first beers were my "gateway" beers and fueled my desire to try brewing. 

While as a kid I was permitted  by my Dad to have a few sips and eventually a very small glass of his Ballantine Ale or Kruger Pils with dinner,  the very first sixpack I ever bought for myself in the late 1960s was a bock beer...and the second one was an IPA (not knowing the significance  of either one at the time).  Those spoiled me for good and all, and as a result when I eventually got to college I didn't much care for the comparatively bland stuff my friends were drinking.  My go-to beers during those college years included Aas Juleol, Lowenbrau Maerzen, Prior Double Dark, Yuengling Porter, and of course  Ballantine XXX, Ballantine IPA.   

So I had my gateways pretty much right out of the gate.  ;D    Ten years later when the "craft" movement began rolling in, I was ready for it!

I took a lot of ribbing during my  college years for my strange beer choices (and especially for paying more for beer than they were),  but now most surviving members of my old crew with whom I still talk profess to being  craft beer afficianados.   They also finally seem to "get it" that there was indeed some good beer around in the so called "dark ages" B.C. (before craft). 
So now, I get to rib them with a satisfying "I told you so".  LOL

barliman:
These are mostly chronological order.  Different beer for each level of beer nerd-dom. 
1. Labatt Blue
2. Killians Red
3. Guinness Draught
4. Moose Drool
5. Surly Furious
6. Bell's Hopslam
7. Stouts on nitro
8. Cask ales

kgs:
It was the 1970s and I had a police-officer friend who invited me for a walk on Ocean Beach and then as we chilled out on the dunes brought out a bottle of homebrew. I honestly remember nothing about the beer, and forgot this moment for decades to come, but I'm really grateful in retrospect that I said something like "Yum." I had no idea what was involved in making beer (and I am thinking it wasn't legal at that point :-) ). 

Next up was a friend when I was stationed at Chanute in 1985 who turned me on to seriously good beer with the argument (still valid, imo) that a good beer was more affordable than a comparable wine.

My next gateway was being stationed in England and Germany in the 1980s. I can remember delicious pints of bitter at local pubs in England, followed by buying amazing beer at the local German supermarket and taking it home in these plastic crates you brought back to the store with your bottles. Don't ask me what beers they were -- it was like buying bread or cheese, you bought beer and drank it. (I dimly remember a dunkelweizen.)

snowtiger87:
Mine was Lowenbrau Dark in college. We would go to ths one bar and order a pitcher of it before we went to the other bars to drink swill and chase women.

mugwort:
For me, the gateway to Belgian beers was a separate and delayed entry compared to that of general craft beer.  For years, I had an unfortunate impression of Belgian-style ale as unreasonably yeasty and harsh.

I can attribute my ignorance to one badly-treated Trader Joe's-stocked Chimay in the early-mid 90's.  Why that was the one and only Belgian brew I tried I can't say.  Unfortunately, with a glut of quality non-Belgian craft to try and a lack of spirit to explore further the Belgian side, so it was that my appreciation of Belgian-style brews was much delayed.

It took a new friend from Rochester to bring down the hammer of Unibroue upon my head.  His insistence that I forgo my old prejudices and learn the wisdom of his favorite La Fin Du Monde was what push me though that gate.

That was only the beginning.  Cheers to you Chad.

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