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What were your gateway beers?

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I spent my formative years drinking Bud Light and Nat Light, but when I had the extra cash I always tried to get some bottles of Guinness.  The extra stout version of Guinness...seemed like powerful stuff back then.  I then moved to Sam Adams and Killians and a local craft brewery(Schlafly) that made some good beers.  But, I'll never forget the first time I had a Bell's Two Hearted.  I don't think any of the Two Hearted's I've had since seem nearly as good as that first six pack.  The whole beer world seemed to open up for me immediately.  And I was an instant hop head. 

Growing up in Detroit, naturally I started with Stroh's and also had Miller and Bud, Goebbels, Old Milwaulke.
On a whim, I decided to look at imported beer's and noticed an import from Austria called Gosser that changed my life!  It was a Dark/Dunkel style with so much flavor I couldnt believe it.  This was the late seventies when homebrewing was declared legal so I tried my hand at cloning that beer, but with little resources for homebrewing as compared to today, needless to say it was not too good.  Dunkel is still my favorite style!

When I turned 18 in 1973 (legal age was 18 in Florida back then), my friends and I would order pitchers of Schlitz Dark at the pizza parlor next door to our favorite footsball parlor.

There was also a live music club called Uncle Waldo's in Winter Park.  They only had Miller Lite on draft, so we'd get a pitcher of that and a bottle of Guiness and pour the Guiness into the pithcer to give the Miller some flavor.

When I worked at Disney in 1975 - 1976 we would stop after work at the 7-11 on Johnny's corner and buy six-packs of Lowenbrau (alternatining one sixpack of dunkle, with one sixpack of pilsener) and drink them at the picnic tables there.  This was when Lowenbrau was stll imported from Munich, before it was ruined by being contract brewed by Miller in the States.

What got me started homebrewing was I spent quite a bit of time in Bavaria 1980 - 1989.  I fell in love with Bayrische weissbier.  I could not find fresh examples of it in the States (it is WAYYY better fresh), so I learned how to brew my own. 

For me, at the time I was living in Atlanta and it was Sweetwater 420 and each winter I would come out to Colorado to ski and Fat Tire kind of re-enforced my thirst to get away from the Budweiser.

Guinness and then Sierra Nevada pale ale when I moved to la 10 years ago.


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