11 Beers to Drink and Enjoy for the Brewski Newbie

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CHICAGO, IL – NOVEMBER 29: Nationwide on Black Friday, Chicago’s Goose Island Beer Company released limited quantities of their award-winning Bourbon County Brand barrel-aged beers —- Bourbon County Brand Stout, Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout, Bourbon County Brand Barleywine and Backyard Rye Bourbon County Brand Stout.  at Binny’s on November 29, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images for Goose Island)

1.) Barleywines

Despite the name, this is actually a beer style – and it’s one of the strongest out there. If none of the other beers faze you – not the hoppiness of an IPA, the mouth-puckering sensation of a sour, or the hearty slap of a stout – then you, my friend, are ready for a barleywine. Just make sure you’ve got a designated driver ready in case it’s a touch stronger than you anticipated.

This style is related to an ancient Greek beverage, though the Greeks did not use hops in the alcoholic brews. Barleywine is fruity and typically very strong. The “wine” portion of its name is used to indicate the high alcohol content of most of these brews. Many barleywines can be cellared like traditional wines and benefit from a bit of aging, somewhat like bottle conditioned beers.

Barleywines usually contain somewhere between 8-12% ABV. English barleywines hit between 35-70 IBUs, and American style barleywines can pack a whopping 50-120 IBUs. English versions tend to be a little more balanced between the sweetness of malt and the bitterness of hops, while Americans clearly can’t get enough of hops in the barleywines.

Barleywines to try:

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Remember, this list is only the beginning. There is a great, wide world out there of beer for you to try. Some are good, some are bad, and some are so fantastic that you won’t believe you ever said: “I don’t drink that stuff”. Good luck out there, you budding beer enthusiasts!