11 Beers to Drink and Enjoy for the Brewski Newbie

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DENVER, CO – SEPTEMBER 30: Thomas Ledder, a Barrel Romancer as he calls himself for Avery Brewing Company, and Walter Becker, right, Events specials, tap into a barrel of Uncle Jacob’s Imperial Stout as their team sets up for the Great American Beer Festival at the Denver Convention Center in Denver, CO on October 1, 2014. The brewing company, based in Boulder, has aged three different beers in Kentucky bourbon and rum barrels and will be taping into those kegs at certain hours during the festival. The Great American Beer Festival is the premier U.S. beer festival and competition. Each year, GABF represents the largest collection of U.S. beer ever served, in a public tasting event plus a private competition. GABF brings together the brewers and diverse beers that make the U.S. the worlds greatest brewing nation. GABF was founded in 1982, and has been growing and evolving along with the American craft brewing industry ever since. This year’s tickets to the event sold out in 32 minutes. (Photo By Helen H. Richardson/ The Denver Post)

2.) Stouts

Stouts were traditionally the name for the strongest porters around. However, they’ve since developed into their own unique style. There’s actually a fair amount of disagreement (both chivalrous and not) as to whether stouts and porters are two different beers at all. Given that I’m giving stouts their own section, you can probably guess where I land.

A stout is typically dark and hearty, with a thick pour and a strong, heavy head (that’s the amount of foam that accumulates on top as you pour a beer). Some stouts are poured from a nitro tap. These beers are infused with nitrogen bubbles instead of the typical carbon dioxide; the smaller nitrogen bubbles stay in the beer longer and make for a smoother, silkier beer.

There are many different kinds of stouts to try. You might taste an oatmeal stout, where a significant portion of the malt is made up of oatmeal instead of the traditional barley. Milk stouts (one of my other favorite styles) contains lactose derived from milk (duh). Because yeast can’t process lactose, it hangs around in the beer to give it a creamy, sweet flavor. It was billed as a “nutritious” beer and was even given to nursing mothers. Imperial stouts, including Russian imperial stouts, are especially strong and might just put a little hair on your chest.

Stouts tend to hang out in the 7-8% ABV range, but I’ve seen stouts that creep past 10% ABV. Milk stouts, which tend to be a little milder, are often 15-25 IBUs, while other styles are more close to 30-35 IBUs.

Stouts to try: