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Trying to pick the right beer? Start with what you know.

Using 5 beers you already to know to figure out what you should really be drinking

As of writing this (Nov 2018) there are over 8,000 craft breweries across the US & Canada. Now let's say each of those breweries are producing at least 10 different brews. So we're looking at a minimum of 80,000 different beers to choose from...."yeah I'll take a Stella." Seriously though, studies show that when confronted with too many options, consumer tend default to what they know, i.e. the mass market players in the beer market (Stella, Molson, Blue Moon, etc.).

We are in the middle of a craft beer renaissance and it is a truly wonderful thing, but in an ocean of full of great craft beers to choose from, we need a life boat - or at least a fishing pole.  

This article will help you find some great new beers by comparing them to beers you already know. Finding your next favorite beer is as easy as that. Cheers!

Starting with what you know

Finding the right beer shouldn't be like shooting in the dark, it should be more like shooting fish in a barrel.

At the heart of it, the key to finding the right beer is identifying what Style and more importantly what Characteristics you like about certain beers. For example, you probably don't like Blue Moon because its a Belgian White, you probably like it because it's sweet, fruity, light and smooth. So let's start there:

1. Blue Moon

Style: Belgian White - generally pale and crisp with tastes of wheat and citrus

Characteristics: Sweet, light spice, hints of vanilla, fruit and wheat.

Great, so now we know the Style and Characteristics of Blue Moon, but what do we do with this information? Let's order:

At the bar: No need to get too specific here, and let the bartender work for you, if you're at a good craft bar the bartender will know their stuff and be a great resource. Start with the style and hit on some of the characteristics you find most appealing:

"Do you have any wheat beers with light spice and mild sweetness?"

Try these instead - our Top Picks:

  1. Solstice D'été Aux Framboises - Brasserie Dieu du Ciel! (Quebec, CA)
  2. HefeWeizen - Live Oak Brewing Company (Texas, US)
  3. Apricot Funky Wit - Perennial Artisan Ales (Missouri, US)

2. Stella Artois

Style: European Pale Lager

Characteristics: Slight bitterness, mild sweetness, hints of apple and floral hops.

At the bar:

"Do you have any craft lagers with mild sweetness and a smooth finish"

Try these instead - our Top Picks:

  1. Stabello - Crooked Letter Brewing Co (Mississippi, US)
  2. Irish Style Lager - Rouge Ales (Oregon, US)
  3. Yacht - Stillwater Artisinal Ales (Maryland, US)

3. Labatt Blue

Style: Pale Lager

Characteristics: Light malt, light sweetness, smooth and mild, medium carbonation

At the bar:

"What's the best pale lager you've got?"

Try these instead - our Top Picks:

  1. Dangol - Bissell Brothers Brewing Co (Maine, US)
  2. Champagne Velvet - Upland Brewing Company (Indiana, US)
  3. Mass Rising - Jack's Abbey Brewing (Massachusetts, US

Note: Budweiser is the same style with extremely similar characteristics

4. Molson Canadian Lager

Style: Pale Lager

Characteristics: Slight sweetness, hints of honey, light malt, high carbonation.

At the bar:

"What do you recommend for American or European pale lagers with light sweetness?"

Try these instead - our Top Picks:

  1. Maltstrom IXPL des Prairies - (Notre-Dame-des-Prairies, Quebec, CA)
  2. Excess IPL - Jack's Abby Brewing (Framingham, Massachusetts, US)
  3. Song of Joy - (Greensboro Bend, Vermont, US)

5. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Characteristics: Slightly bitter and slightly sweet, bready malt, hints of pine and citrus.

At the bar:

"What do you recommend for craft APAs or IPAs?"

Try these instead - our Top Picks:

  1. Jutsu - Bellwoods Brewery (Toronto, Ontario, CA)
  2. Alpha Dog - Yellow Dog Brewing (Port Moody, British Columbia, CA)
  3. Nectarous - Four Winds Brewing Co. (Delta, British Columbia, CA)
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