All beer lovers no doubt have at least one friend who does not share their passion for fermented grain beverages. There are many reasons for this. Some do not drink (and while I can’t condone this reckless behavior, people are certainly free to choose), while others drink, but claim they “don’t like” beer. This is the group can be a tough nut to crack, and it is they who are the subject of this article.
Saying that you don’t like beer is akin to saying that you don’t like any white food. There are simply so many types out there, there is without a doubt one that fits your taste. The “I don’t like beer” crowd can be roughly divided into two groups (I’ve met many members of both). There are the people who don’t like the bitterness of beer, and the people whose only contact with beer has been the beer flavored water cranked out by the likes of Coors and Budweiser. There is some overlap between the groups, and I’ll address the latter first, since it’s the easiest.
This first group is generally very easy to convert, because they are simply ignorant. Mind you, they don’t like being told they are ignorant — very few people respond well to that. They must be gently shown how good beer can be.
Most often, their only experience with beer has been watching it poured into tubing at a frat party. They need only to be steered in the right direction to appreciate a good brew.
Often they drink wine (or perhaps they prefer cocktails), and can appreciate a good complex alcoholic beverage. If you or a friend falls into this crowd, it pays to have a tasting with several excellent, complex beers that are varied in style. Belgian beers in particular are valuable for this, since they are renowned for their interesting tastes and complex flavor profiles. Start with a small enough number that you can focus on individual beers, but a large enough sample to give an idea of the variety of beers available. Four or five should do the trick. Here’s an example of what I would go for.