I’m : a programmer, writer, podcaster, geek, and coffee enthusiast.

How I choose beer

Andrew Fox follows up:

I’m curious what else you drink (beerwise) and enjoy, and what your favorite breweries are.

I actually don’t drink much — usually just a half-glass of beer or wine once or twice a week with dinner, and an occasional night out (often a Tumblr meetup).

When I go out, I usually follow a simple process when selecting a beer:

  1. Drafts always get priority.
  2. Find the ones I’ve never heard of, especially local microbrews.
  3. Prefer stouts and ales. Lagers are frequently cheap and awful (like cheap college beer), so they get low priority. IPAs get lowest priority because I usually don’t like them.
  4. For beers with novelty ingredients: Sweet fruits are usually bad. Pumpkin can go either way, but usually isn’t good. Chocolate and espresso are usually good in stouts, and I enjoy milk/cream stouts.

But since I rarely drink beer at home, and I like trying new beer when I’m out, I hardly ever buy any for here. Chimay Blue is a newly discovered exception: it’s so good that I don’t mind having it as the only beer on hand, I haven’t gotten tired of it, and it’s made to stay good for a long time. I bought my 8 bottles before Thanksgiving, gave 2 away, and still have 3.

Whenever I buy any other beer for home, even just a six-pack, it just sits in my fridge for months. The Chimay ages well, almost like wine — most beers don’t.

And given my “never heard of it” criteria for ordering beer when I’m out, I really never develop much preference or recognition for specific breweries. I actually know almost nothing about beer: I hardly even know the difference between ales, lagers, stouts, IPAs, and the other types that I’m sure I’m forgetting. I just know what words are somewhat likely to lead to something I’ll like.