Beer may be the third most popular drink globally, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t also pretty polarizing. Some people dig it, while others don’t. While some people are pretty neutral on the subject of beer, they’re usually not as vocal as those who adhere unambiguously to one extreme or the other.
That’s understandable. After all, when it comes to liking things, it’s as simple as yay or nay, right? Well, think again.
With the right frame of mind, a systematic approach, and enough determination, it’s possible to manually acquire a taste for things you’ve previously found intolerable.
So, if you want to develop a taste for beer, we’ve got good news: There’s hope for you yet!
How to Like the Taste of Beer
There’s more than one way to rewire your taste buds and trick yourself into developing a fondness for fermented hops and barley.
If the smallest sip of beer has been enough to make you feel gross in the past, you’ll need to make all of the following strategies part of your game plan. Let’s examine them further.
Keep an Open Mind
Most importantly, try not to recall all the times you’ve had the urge to spit a mouthful of detested suds into the nearest potted plant.
Instead, hit the ‘Delete’ button on your preconceived perception of beer and go in with a fresh palate.
The whole point is to forget what you think you know about how a beer tastes and learn to trust what you actually know.
To borrow an aphorism from Zen Buddhism, you must empty your cup if you want to make room for beer.
Optimism can take you far in life, but you get yourself in trouble when it tips over into delusion. If you go in expecting to crush an entire bottle of Imperial IPA or better-known foreign beers and come back thirsty for more, you may have set the bar high enough to trip over.
For this project, your best bet is to stick with small, uncritical sips. Gulp down just enough to get you used to the flavor and mouthfeel of the brew you’re consuming, but not enough to make your eyes water.
Choose a Good “Training Wheel” Beer
When you first set out to earn your beer-loving merit badge, it’s wise to go with something that won’t launch a full-on assault on your tastebuds like a dark lager.
Instead, a good general rule of thumb for choosing a gentle point of entry is the lighter, the better. Lighter beers and mild-mannered lagers tend to have less of that in-your-face, all-caps BEER flavor that so many inexperienced drinkers find so offputting in dark beer.
The next time you get a hankering for an adult beverage, reach for a light beer like Corona Extra, Shock Top, Blue Moon, or Miller High Life and swill to your heart’s content. Your beer enjoyment may increase exponentially.
Learn to Identify Individual Tasting Notes
Okay, so you don’t like the taste of the majority of beers. But maybe you do like things that taste tart, bitter, fruity, earthy, or whatever Straw-Ber-Rita is supposed to be. That’s a great place to start.
See, beer isn’t a single thing, but many different things brought together in a dance of sublime cosmic wonder, from nuanced flavor profiles to brewing techniques.
By shifting your frame of reference from “this tastes bad” to “this tastes kinda like bread/ginger ale/chocolate/sleepytime tea, which rules,” you can begin cultivating an affinity even for those notes and broad flavors that you’re not as keen on.
If you can tease out a few pleasurable threads from the tangled knot that is your relationship with beer, you just might discover a newfound appreciation for the occasional cold one and all the flavor combinations available.
Try Out Lots of Different Styles
At times, getting into beer is a bit like navigating a dense jungle. Curling up into the fetal position and praying that a passing airplane will spot you is one method of coping.
A better one is to hack your way through the brush with a metaphorical machete by experimenting with many different styles until you find one you genuinely enjoy.
This is, without a doubt, the most fun part of acclimating to the beer-drinking experience.
You get to embark on the adventure of going out and trying new things and letting your unique sensibilities lead the way. If one offering doesn’t do it for you, simply move on to the next one.
Indeed, don’t give up before you experience the magic of stumbling upon a brew that tastes like it was made just for you.
Sample Beers From Other Countries
There is quite literally a whole world of beer varieties out there just waiting to be explored, from dark lagers to malty beers.
This beverage is a bona fide crowd-pleaser everywhere from Copenhagen to Yokohama, and almost every culture that’s ever embraced it has put its own twist on the classic grains-hops-yeast formula to produce specialty craft beers.
The Global Brotherhood of Beer has produced a virtually endless variety of styles and flavor profiles over the millennia, such as lagers, porters, stout beers, and sours to IPAs, Pilsners, Saisons, and Ginjos.
At least a few of these beers are bound to appeal to you.
Don’t Be Afraid to Get a Little Weird
Are you the kind of person who unironically enjoys bacon ice cream, those booger-flavored jelly beans, or Nicholas Cage movies? If so, the reason you can’t get behind beer could be that none of the ones you’ve tried so far have been unusual enough.
Good news: if you’re willing to do some research, you can turn up batches of beer using all sorts of truly bizarre concoctions flavored with unorthodox additives like snake venom, frozen pizza, and money. Bottoms up!
We think there are less outrageous ways of becoming interested in beer. But if knocking back some gimmicky small-batch with an ingredients list that reads like the witches’ brew from Macbeth is what it takes to get you on board, so be it.