And by beer newb, I really mean beer newb. I’ve only tasted the big ones like Bud and Coors. I find them pretty gross, but I have noticed that I can actually stand a Bud Light Lime. I’m a big fan of the fruity girly drinks.
However, I am too shy to just walk into a pub, knowing me I’d probably end up going in to one that would look at me funny if I asked for recs or I’d go at the completely wrong time and it would be too busy.
So I come to ask the Dope, fine purveyors of beer you are. I don’t even know where on the spectrum of ales and lagers and pilsners and whatever ten thousand types there are, but I do find beer to be too bitter. So, um, I guess a lighter beer with a fruity finish? That isn’t from a tiny microbrewery that only serves a 100 mile radius in Idaho? Gah, I feel like such a tool.
With a reasonably wide distribution, there’s Widmer’s Hefeweizen. Last time I was in Washington/Oregon, it was very widely sold on tap, and I’ve seen it in the grocery store in North Carolina on occasion. It’s not itself fruity, but it’s often served with a lemon slice. And it was my gateway beer: not especially bitter, fairly full-flavored, and absolutely freakin’ delicious after doing some yard work on a hot summer day. I liked it when I didn’t like any other beer, back in my youth.
Note that it’s a wheat beer, but in a very different style from European wheat beers. European wheat beers are not at all to my taste.
Along the same line as Pyramid is Magic Hat’s # 9 Not Quite Pale Ale - it has a nice apricot flavor without being overwhelming. I am also a big fan of their Circus Boy, which is a citrusy hefeweizen, but it is really hard to find (at least here in Indiana).
Somersault, New Belgium’s summer seasonal, is fairly light-bodied and citrusy. If you can find Fat Tire at your local beer vendor, you can probably find Somersault.
Lindemann’s lambic beers: Framboise (raspberry), peche (peach), pomme (apple), and krec (cherry). These are fancy beers, so usually only bars/pubs that specialize in international beers will have them. Most likely Lindemann’s framboise. It is also expensive.
Abita, a brewery from Louisiana, also has some “fruity” drinks. Purple Haze is refreshing with a slight aftertaste of raspberry. It also has two seasonal brews, Satsuma Harvest Wit and Strawberry Harvest Lager. Right now I have the lager on my fridge. Very refreshing with an aftertaste of strawberries. All three beers are much less sweet and fruity than the lambics, but they’re still nice refreshing, somewhat fruity beers.
Definitely try fruit-sweetened lambics: generally the sweetness tampers the traditionally “sour” lambic. Beer Advocate has pages of ratings based on type of beer, region and overall ratings; here’s the one for fruity lambics. Additionally, if you can get California beers, try Lost Coast Tangerine Wheat-- it is like alcoholic tang with a bit of a wheaty bite. Great stuff for a hot summer day on the beach.
Let us know what state you are in, and we can narrow down the availability of good fruity beers for you. If you live anywhere near me (South Florida), there’s a local brewery lounge that does a lot of different stuff.
It’s Kriek, not Krec, for the cherry. Delicious stuff though the Framboise is my favorite. I’ve never tried it but I think this stuff would be delicious in a shake or over ice cream, if it didn’t curdle or get weird.
For the OP, assuming your profile’s location is accurate (Saskatchewan) I’m not sure what you’ll have available. Here in the states we’ve got an insane number of regional micro breweries producing some truly excellent beers, many of which are fruit beers or light wheat/witte styles that are very easy entry beers. Some of the ones mentioned here are good, but I suspect many won’t be distributed north of the border and the ones that are might be limited to the major population centers. I’m not sure what the microbrew/brew pub culture is in Canada these days but I’d be surprised if there wasn’t a fairly strong market for these beers similar to here.
The trick is going to be learning what beers are available north of the border and which local companies make good fruit beers. Shock Top (Budweiser) and Blue Moon (MillerCoors) are very likely to be available there as are Sam Adams products, but the Sam stuff might be limited to their more traditional styles leaving the Cherry Wheat out of the equation. The Canadian craft brewer most common here in the states is Unibroue and what I’ve had from them is on the aggressive/hoppy side for my liking. I see on their website they sell a Ephemere Apple which sounds like it’d be up your alley but I have no idea how common it might be there.
There’s a huge difference between Belgian Red/Raspberry Tart and Lindemanns Lambics. Lindemanns are sweet, the New Glarus’ Lambics are tart. A lot of people make this same comparison, but I’ve never really thought it was fair. It’s like Young’s Double Chocolate Stout to Chocolate Milk…two different animals.
FTR, I really like Framboise, it’s like drinking jello (and if you like that, try a 44 North and tonic (no lime) next time you’re at a bar).
Lambics are good, but as someone said are going to be harder to find when you are just out and about. Try one if you find one. They are interesting, and won’t taste anything like the beer you are familar with.
For something that is more common look for anything that is called a hefeweizen or belgian or white beer (wheat beer/wit beer too) and you will get something that is a little sweeter with citrus notes. Pyramid makes a decent one that seems to be everywhere. Blue Moon is also a lot of places, as is Shock Top. I don’t care for Shock Top myself, but I think Blue Moon is ok. Many places with garnish hefeweizen and white beer with an orange twist just as a matter of course.
Also, try mexican beers and add lime. That’s fairly standard, and many places will garnish them with lime without you asking. I would avoid Corona or Tecate but Dos Equies and Pacifico are solid middle road mexican beers. Negra Modelo is also good, but might be a bit dark for your taste, and wouldn’t be as good with lime.
You might also like something that has a bit more body and less bite. There is a beer called Boddington’s which is a pub ale, very creamy flavor without much bite. Many bars that serve a lot of beer have this on tap and it’s probably a good beginner beer. No fruit really but maybe a bit of honey. Very very different from anything you have tried, so keep an open mind. Young’s makes a Chocolate Stout that is also very drinkable, not super sweet but very smooth. Guinness is also surprisingly drinkable, but you have to like coffee as it is fairly strongly coffee flavored (sort of, try it you will see).
Also, if you haven’t yet, look into hard cider. No one will look down on you for drinking it, and it tastes like apple juice. Strongbow is one I see a lot, but cider isn’t really my thing so I couldn’t tell you if it’s a good one.
Since we seem to get a lot of “help me learn to like beer” threads around here, I just want to jump in and say that I absolutely despise coffee. Won’t put the nasty swill anywhere near my lips. But I do like Guinness. I do, however, know what you’re talking about and I can certainly taste the coffee in the beer. In fact, I recognized the taste long before anyone mentioned it to me. I just want to mention this so any non-coffee drinkers don’t avoid Guinness for fear it’s going to taste like a cup of coffee. There’s a handful of ‘good’ beers that, IMHO, beginner beer drinkers should learn to like since almost every bar will have them and most beginners are usually staying away from BMC stuff. Guinness is one of those beers (Sam Adams is another).
That’s good to know. I always just assumed that people who don’t like coffee wouldn’t like Guinness, but I don’t know many people who don’t like coffee (or Guinness for that matter) so I was never sure.
Guinness is a heavy beer, but if you are prepaired for something that you can’t just knock back quickly it’s really very drinkable. It’s very smooth and not very hoppy (the hops are what many people in my experience who don’t like beer object to).
Agreed. A new beer drinker might also want to give Red Stripe a shot, if they find they like lighter body beers. It’s got a decent flavor but isn’t aggressive in any way. It’s also everywhere.
As a coffee hater, I have to say that I cannot taste the coffee in Guinness. I can taste it in many other beers, though, and I’m really sick of the chocolate-and-coffee dark beers that so many microbreweries are putting out. It’s probably a good mix if you like coffee (or chocolate, for that matter) but I’m sick of it. However, I do not taste the coffee in Guinness.