My first ever experience with beer was memorable. My head swam with romanticized ideas of Bavarian wenches and Belgian artistes devouring whole pig legs whilst polishing off a pilsner, full of subtle flavors and historical connotations. I expected that I would love it straight away; some people do. The boys were drinking it fast, like you would lemonade, so I followed suit. The result: me, eyes darting, frantically trying to find somewhere to politely spit out the offending brew. It was a boutique beer, but to me it just tasted like dirty washing-up water. My relationship with beer could have been severed forever on that night, but luckily, I learnt that beer can actually be very enjoyable.
Beer often gets a bad rap—apparently it causes the famed “beer belly,” and is the drink of choice of chauvinists and louts. The first is completely untrue, and although the jury is out on the second one, there is no reason why beer should not still maintain the same degree of distinction as, say, wine.
Beer has an ancient pedigree; chemical evidence suggests that it first originated in Egypt around 3500 BC. The brewing of beer-like drinks developed independently in various countries after this time. It is a fermented drink, usually made from barley, but some beers are made from ingredients as diverse as rice or even potato.
Many girls tend to like the sweeter beers to begin with, before moving on to heavier varieties. Previously being a plain ol’ vodka-lime-and-soda girl, my gentle reintroduction to beer involved Bellevue Kriek (a cheery flavored beer), Beez Neez (a honey-wheat beer), and Corona (a light, crisp Mexican beer). There is no need to jump in the deep end with a Guinness! It is also prudent to think about food and beer pairings—if served with the wrong food, the pairing will detract from the flavor of the beer and the food. A detailed guide to pairings can be found at Beer Travelers.
Another important thing to remember is this; not all beers are poured equally. Dumping a bottle of beer into a mug or a juice glass may be convenient, but it does not spell good taste. Ideally, beer should be served in a chilled glass with a top that curves inwards— this decreases the surface area from which aromas can escape. Pour the beer into the glass on an angle, tilting it upright as it fills. Begin slowly and vary the speed depending on how much of a head you would like—generally the faster you pour, the more foam will form. There, you should be a master at the art of beer pouring now!
Beer certainly is not for everybody, but knowing how to start off in the shallow end of beer drinking makes it a lot easier to learn to love this diverse drink.