Everyone should try new beer everyday.  I honestly believe that.  Unfortunately, we cannot all have a different beer everyday of our lives.  Most people however are creatures of habit.  We exhibit habitual behaviors because our brains are hard wired to do so.

For instance, I tend to avoid Belgian beers.  Why?  Esters (Aroma).  However, once in a while I try one and think, “this is pretty good.”  I still do tend to shy away from the six packs of Belgians, but when there is a chance to take a sample I usually give it an open mind.

An excellent example of why people should try different beer recently happened to me at The Pub inside the Monte Carlo Hotel in Las Vegas.  I struck up a conversation with a gentleman a few barstools over.  He was telling me his style preferences and his favorite beers.  I asked him if he had ever had Kona’s Pipeline Porter.  He indicated he had not, and that he had his beer comfort zone.  I asked the bartender to give him a sample off the tap.  A fingers worth of beer and a fingers worth of foam sat in front of the man from Detroit.  He took a look at it as if to say “Here goes nothing,” and took a sip.  As the glass came from his lips he exclaimed “Holy Shit!”

For the first time in this guy’s life he tried a porter he loved.  He thought it was an excellent beer and would look for it again.  His son joined him a short time later and he told his son about the beer.  When presented with the chance to try something new, he took the plunge.  I give him credit.  All to often I have seen people turn their head up at a sample.

For those beer novices out there, the cheapest way to try something new is ask for a sip.  I can not tell you how many times I have had a bartender slide over a few ounces of an unfamiliar beer.  Please do not abuse this though.  Make sure you order a drink as well, and it is nice to tip a bartender for the sip as well.  He/ she did not have to give you a sample on the house and in some situations could get in some serious trouble.

If you want to be a little more adventurous try a sampler.  Typically you will see samplers in bars that have numerous taps of craft beer.  Brewpubs almost always have some sort of sampler.  Samplers run the gamut on price from free for four samples at Great Divide, a few dollars at Goose Island, to $20 at Vegas bars.  Some places have a preset sampler, but many places will let you make your own.  When the menu shows a preset option, and a polite request for substitution is normally honored.  Try and pick a good group of beer.  Consider ordering some beers that have won medals and taste the beers lightest to darkest in color.  If your in a pub, I try to either stick to one style or one brewery.  Either way, you can never have too much fun running though a sampler.


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