Author Topic: What were your gateway beers?  (Read 6093 times)

Offline mugwort

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What were your gateway beers?
« on: January 11, 2013, 03:05:54 PM »
I'm not going to call craftbrew drinkers enlightened, or aleightened rather, but we're on our way.  It's a journey, not a destination.

So, what were the gateway beers that helped to get you to a higher plane of flavor?

For me, it was Henry Weinhard's Private Reserve that lifted me from my collegiate-era 40oz King Cobra dabblings (the Cobra being traditionally consumed with a loaf of french bread to provide that maltiness lacking in the beer).

Adding Samuel Adams Stock Ale into the mix helped me understand the appeal of bittered ales.  Took an unfortunate, but thankfully brief detour with Rolling Rock after college before coming around to the Trader Joe's line of Fat Weasel and Black Toad ales.

Learned a bit about oxidation from the many dusty brews stocked at TJ's at the time (circa 1995).  Fell in love with ales of oh-so-dark color via the sweet and rich Mackeson Triple XXX Stout.

Around the same time, I was lucky enough to taste Blind Pig IPA at Vinnie's Temecula brewery and at that point I knew there was no going back.  A true wortshed moment for me.
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Offline Slowbrew

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Re: What were your gateway beers?
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2013, 03:12:18 PM »
My conversion started a long time ago.  Back when Busch Lite was the main beer in the fridge my wife and I would "splurge" on Michelob Dark now and then.  Later, when I was service manage for a computer company who's office happened to be across the street from a "pick a 6 pack" place.  We kept a fund we called "beer fund" and used that money to buy all kinds of beer from all over the world every Friday afternoon.  After a few years of that the old Busch Lite just didn't cut it anymore.

Paul
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Offline gsandel

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Re: What were your gateway beers?
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2013, 03:32:10 PM »
circa 1991, it was the Full Moon Cafe in downtown Ann Arbor Michigan....they had a round the world club....I discovered all kinds of things.

Then, my wife to be got accepted to a Master's program at Colorado State University in Fort Collins in 1993, so the Original Fat Tire from New Belgium, 90 Shilling from O'Dell's, and Red Banshee from H.C. Berger....but Coopersmith's Brewpub downtown made authentic English Ales....I became a born again malt head.
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Offline jmcfarlen

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Re: What were your gateway beers?
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2013, 03:34:14 PM »
I grew up with Coors and Coors Light, son of an employee.  As I got older and in the military I expanded to the Killian's line (Red and Brown) and other dark beers, hitting the Old Chicago "'Round the World Beers" then the microbrew movement exploded and expanded my horizons further.  So I started to get more into the different flavors and implementing them into my brews.

Offline hubie

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Re: What were your gateway beers?
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2013, 03:42:02 PM »
Back in the 80's if we wanted to go upscale we got Canadian beer because it was generally accepted to be better, and they made beer to 5% alcohol while in the US we had that wimpy 3.5% beer (we really didn't understand that percent by weight vs volume thing).  I always had a penchant for darker beers so I always tried to pick up Michelob Dark, Guinness, and when visiting relatives in Pottsville, PA, Yuengling Black and Tan (or the Lord Chesterfield Ale if I wanted something hoppy but not dark).  The beer I noticed that was a real gateway for most of my friends was Sam Adams in the early 90s.

I can't say I ever really had a gateway brew, or one that opened a door to a whole new vista for me.  I love variety in food and drink and I've always liked beer, so I typically try out new styles when they come out and put the ones I like into my drink bullpen.

Offline slarkin712

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Re: What were your gateway beers?
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2013, 03:48:45 PM »
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. 

Offline beerstache

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Re: What were your gateway beers?
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2013, 04:07:50 PM »
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!

Offline punatic

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Re: What were your gateway beers?
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2013, 04:13:20 PM »
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. 
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Offline thebigbaker

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Re: What were your gateway beers?
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2013, 04:28:15 PM »
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.
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Offline sparkleberry

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Re: What were your gateway beers?
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2013, 04:32:51 PM »
Guinness and then Sierra Nevada pale ale when I moved to la 10 years ago.
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: What were your gateway beers?
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2013, 04:44:07 PM »
Long Trail 'Dubble Bag' and otter creek. When I was in highschool we went on a field trip to the otter creek brewery when they were still renting space in a big industrial bulding in middlebury. I didn't drink back then (really I didn't, not even being ironic) but I remember thinking it must be cool to be able to have a beer FOR work.
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Offline alcaponejunior

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Re: What were your gateway beers?
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2013, 05:03:41 PM »
I'm not going to call craftbrew drinkers enlightened, or aleightened rather, but we're on our way.  It's a journey, not a destination.

So, what were the gateway beers that helped to get you to a higher plane of flavor?

For me, it was Henry Weinhard's Private Reserve that lifted me from my collegiate-era 40oz King Cobra dabblings (the Cobra being traditionally consumed with a loaf of french bread to provide that maltiness lacking in the beer).

Adding Samuel Adams Stock Ale into the mix helped me understand the appeal of bittered ales.  Took an unfortunate, but thankfully brief detour with Rolling Rock after college before coming around to the Trader Joe's line of Fat Weasel and Black Toad ales.

Learned a bit about oxidation from the many dusty brews stocked at TJ's at the time (circa 1995).  Fell in love with ales of oh-so-dark color via the sweet and rich Mackeson Triple XXX Stout.

Around the same time, I was lucky enough to taste Blind Pig IPA at Vinnie's Temecula brewery and at that point I knew there was no going back.  A true wortshed moment for me.

Great opener for a thread!

I'll bite.  I drank Henry Weinhardt's when I was I think 15.  I thought it was delicious at the time.  I haven't tried it since, should I?  Ratings indicate it's pretty meh these days.

In my pre-drinking age teens I drank the cheep stuff, Carlin's black label, Strohs, Heidelburg etc.  Less than $4 a twelvesky.  That's what you want when you're too young to drink legally. 8)

At 21 I got lucky and started to actually enjoy some decent beers.  Back in the day, Becks and some of the imports were actually pretty good.  That was back in the dark ages of American beers...

When I was broke and in school, I switched to cheep malt liquor.  I'll still drink it, FWIW, but obviously my tastes have evolved and I prefer "craft" beer these days.   Still though, I do sometimes work construction with my brother, and after you've been pounding nails, laying metal roofing panels, or slinging trusses all day, you're not exactly going to drink wine and eat cheese afterwords... HELL NO!  You have a forty, and IIPAs/RISs don't come in 40's.   ::)

Sam Adams Lager helped me to appreciate hoppy lagers.  ;D

Then the breaking point came when I was in the military.  I had plenty of time and money to try new things.  Now while I've always liked to try new beers, the big difference was doing reviews.  Now I'm hooked on reviewing, and as always, trying to try something new every time I try a commercial beer.

The IPA rush came from drinking Stone IPA.  I wasn't that into IPAs, thinking them to be too bitter per flavor ratio, preferring Belgians etc.  Then I had a Stone IPA.  Delicious!  After that I started trying more IPAs and realized that they really were delicious, and not just overly bitter.  There are just a lot of examples to choose from, apparently it's the preferred style if you're trying to break into the craft beer market!

RIS, Belgians, sours, wild ales, and other such beers I've loved along the way at various times.  Did I mention that RR wild ales kick ass?

Now I'm a homebrewer, but still enjoy the evolving craft beer market.  I'll buy some, drink some, and brew some. 

Beer is good.  Fin.  :)

Offline fmader

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Re: What were your gateway beers?
« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2013, 05:29:24 PM »
All through college it was Miller Lite if I had the funds, if not, it was cheaper. After school I started to drink Sam Adams Boston Lager and when in season, Winter Lager. I would try SNPA and other readily available "tier 2" beers off and on for a year or two. Then my buddy returned from Iraq, and we went to Bocktown, which is outside Pittsburgh. I drank several Schmalt's Coney Island Lagers there. I went back a month later and got a couple more, but spent time looking in the cooler at the different beers. My local Giant Eagle starting carrying some crafts... I recognized one they had that I saw at Bocktown. It was Victory Hop Devil..... I fell in love and probably drank four cases of it over that summer. That giant eagle really expanded it's selection since then... I have expanded my joy in craft beers as well. I think I would say that Hop Devil was the true barrier buster.
Frank

Offline erockrph

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Re: What were your gateway beers?
« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2013, 06:06:29 PM »
I always hated beer until my sophomore year of college. My roommate brought a case of Harpoon IPA when he moved in and the rest was history. Beer suddenly made sense to me.
Eric B.

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Offline gymrat

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Re: What were your gateway beers?
« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2013, 06:13:42 PM »
Fat Tire
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