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  1. #1
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    The progression of Taste

    I have noticed a bit of a common progression with beer drinkers. I have introduced many friends to the wide world of craft, and also made and met many friends during thier "early stages" of craft love. As a result the common progression I see in a persons personal taste is the following:

    The starting point: Non-Craft Pilsners/Lagers (Bud, BL, Coors, CL, etc...)
    Step 1: Hefeweizen/Wheat beers (sweet, light, Fruity)
    Step 2: Browns/Reds/Ambers/Bocks (not to malty, and more bitter than wheat's)
    Step 3: Stouts/Porters (Dark, Malty)
    Step 4: Spiced and Seasonal (Pumpkin, Winter, etc..)
    Step 5: Belgian Beers (non-sour, but double tripple and quads)
    Step 6: Imperial Stouts and Strong Ales (Very Malty, Dark, Alcohaulic, a little bitter)
    Step 7: Pale Ale (not IPA, somewhat bitter, but not overpowering)
    Step 8: IPA's (I would also add Barley wines into this one)
    Step 9: The quest for ridiculously bitter (IBU hunters)
    Step 10: Barrel aged dark's (Non-sour, bourbon, whiskey, wine, oak, etc...)
    Step 11: Sours and Wild Ale's
    Step 12: Oddballs and Rarities
    Step 13: Mutual appreciation of all styles (Including well done Pilsners/Lagers)

    Now I am not saying everyone follows this path, in fact, I can't think of one person that has followed this step by step exactly. I do think that this is a relatively good representation of how a person's taste develops. One guy may completely skip the IPA stage, or maybe have several out of order, but I think generally the ones near the top, middle and end the list are pretty representative of how a person develops their taste.

    Thoughts?

    Edit: Maybe here is a more generalized progression
    Step 1: Sweet, Mild, drinkable
    Step 2: Malty or Bitter
    Step 3: Very Malty or Very Bitter
    Step 4: Inverse of Step 2 (if it was malty, then this step is bitter)
    Step 5: Inverse of Step 3
    Step 6: Exotic (barrel aged, sour, wild, etc...)
    Last edited by Guerdonian; 12-20-2012 at 01:52 PM.
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  2. #2
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    Solid analysis. I think there's a dual-path thing going on for most drinkers though after step 2. Step 3 is often towards Pale Ales.

    Lots of memories for me in my development...great topic

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    Quote Originally Posted by jtmartino View Post
    Solid analysis. I think there's a dual-path thing going on for most drinkers though after step 2. Step 3 is often towards Pale Ales.

    Lots of memories for me in my development...great topic
    True True, I actually almost put the progression of Bitter tasting beers before Malty beers. Personally I did Malty before Bitter, But i have seen many love Bitter before getting into Malty. I have not however seen many get into Sour prior to loving Bitter or Malty.
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    The only reason I did not get into Sours earlier in my beer taste progression was because I simply did not know anything about them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Klurejr View Post
    The only reason I did not get into Sours earlier in my beer taste progression was because I simply did not know anything about them.
    True point, I only really got into sours about 4 years ago when they finally became more available (that and my 45min proximity to Russian River). I think their increase in availability may help them be an earlier discovery.

    I must however say that I rarely bust out a sour when i know someone is not into strong flavor profile beers. For example if we have guests over, and I am going to pull something out of the cellar to share, I usually do a quick evaluation prior. Many times if i discover they don't like IPA's (Extra Bitter) or Imperial Stouts (Extra Malty) they also tend to not like Sour's. Seems that those who do not like heavy/bold flavor beers, don't like any of them, regardless of style. Once again, not always the case, but often enough for me to shy away and reach for a quad or tripple instead.
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    Great topic Guerdonian!

    Can we flow chart this? I think some of it has to do with a person's age too and the era they started drinking. For me, a lot of these style weren't really commercially available when I started drinking so it was a little different. Overall though I agree, especially with the final step which is why I get maddened by people who think IPA's are the only beers that exist/matter.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Guerdonian View Post

    I must however say that I rarely bust out a sour when i know someone is not into strong flavor profile beers. For example if we have guests over, and I am going to pull something out of the cellar to share, I usually do a quick evaluation prior.
    An interesting thing I've noticed recently is that a few people that I would not expect, females specifically, have been really into "sours". I use quotation marks since it's a pretty broad classification.

    A prime example was over the summer we ran into some friends and friends of friends at Toronado in San Diego. Someone had ordered a Bear Republic Tartare (Bracingly Sour Berlinerweiss) not knowing what it was. Everybody thought it was horrendous (besides me) and wanted to send it back and then my buddies wife who has probably never had a Berliner or Sour before takes a sip and loves it! She's a pretty awesome girl already but this made her even awesomer in my book.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Hungus View Post
    Great topic Guerdonian!

    Can we flow chart this? I think some of it has to do with a person's age too and the era they started drinking. For me, a lot of these style weren't really commercially available when I started drinking so it was a little different. Overall though I agree, especially with the final step which is why I get maddened by people who think IPA's are the only beers that exist/matter.
    The Hop Heads are a unique crowd. I can appreciate there furver for all things bitter, but I can not agree more about the blindly devoted. Just like any individual that I meet, that is so over the top zealous about one specific thing to the point of not being able to hold a conversation or even consider your point of view makes me want to run away from them as quickly as possible. Whenever I am at a beer bar and hear phrases like "whats the IBU on this" or "Man this IPA is Weak!" I can't help but smirk a little
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Hungus View Post
    An interesting thing I've noticed recently is that a few people that I would not expect, females specifically, have been really into "sours". I use quotation marks since it's a pretty broad classification.

    A prime example was over the summer we ran into some friends and friends of friends at Toronado in San Diego. Someone had ordered a Bear Republic Tartare (Bracingly Sour Berlinerweiss) not knowing what it was. Everybody thought it was horrendous (besides me) and wanted to send it back and then my buddies wife who has probably never had a Berliner or Sour before takes a sip and loves it! She's a pretty awesome girl already but this made her even awesomer in my book.
    Too true!! In fact for those who are new to beer who actually taste Sours, if its a couple I give it a much higher likelihood that the woman will like it over the man. Opposite goes with IPA's usually the dude's like those prior to the ladies.

    Another interesting note about sours is for some reason it seems that the wine lovers almost always love a well balanced sour beer (not a 100% pucker power brett beer, those take some conditioning). I always find this particularly ironic as Brett will completely ruin a winery, and a wine producer will act like you just insulted his mother if you talk about how much you love the tasty critter.
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    Cool post. Here's my less sophisticated experience. Early on, I liked the sweeter stuff...sometimes bordering on cloying. Browns and ales. Then I went to stouts and porters...still my fave. Then I had a hate, hate relationship with IPA and hoppy stuff. But my palate learned. Now I drink a lot of IPA. Weirdly, I like the sweeter IPA's, and the drier stouts and porters. Forgive my primitive descriptions.

    Most the stuff lower on your list, I just can't afford or justify spending on.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluestatevirgin View Post
    Cool post. Here's my less sophisticated experience. Early on, I liked the sweeter stuff...sometimes bordering on cloying. Browns and ales. Then I went to stouts and porters...still my fave. Then I had a hate, hate relationship with IPA and hoppy stuff. But my palate learned. Now I drink a lot of IPA. Weirdly, I like the sweeter IPA's, and the drier stouts and porters. Forgive my primitive descriptions.

    Most the stuff lower on your list, I just can't afford or justify spending on.
    I edited the original post. I think that i was a bit over-specific, and this may be a better class of progression:

    Step 1: Sweet, Mild, drinkable
    Step 2: Malty or Bitter
    Step 3: Very Malty or Very Bitter
    Step 4: Inverse of Step 2 (if it was malty, then this step is bitter)
    Step 5: Inverse of Step 3
    Step 6: Exotic (barrel aged, sour, wild, etc...)

    Sounds like you are getting into the exotic stuff, but the ol wallet is your hold-back. Totally understandable, it gets pricey the deeper you get.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guerdonian View Post
    Too true!! In fact for those who are new to beer who actually taste Sours, if its a couple I give it a much higher likelihood that the woman will like it over the man. Opposite goes with IPA's usually the dude's like those prior to the ladies.

    Another interesting note about sours is for some reason it seems that the wine lovers almost always love a well balanced sour beer (not a 100% pucker power brett beer, those take some conditioning). I always find this particularly ironic as Brett will completely ruin a winery, and a wine producer will act like you just insulted his mother if you talk about how much you love the tasty critter.
    I think the things that are prevalent in great wines and in great "Sour" beers (maybe more so than other beer styles) are things like nuance and complexity. You can get so many different flavors from Sour or Wild beers that to classify all of them under one label doesn't even really make sense. They are certainly the style (or whatever you call it) that I currently find most interesting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Guerdonian View Post
    Too true!! In fact for those who are new to beer who actually taste Sours, if its a couple I give it a much higher likelihood that the woman will like it over the man. Opposite goes with IPA's usually the dude's like those prior to the ladies.

    Another interesting note about sours is for some reason it seems that the wine lovers almost always love a well balanced sour beer (not a 100% pucker power brett beer, those take some conditioning). I always find this particularly ironic as Brett will completely ruin a winery, and a wine producer will act like you just insulted his mother if you talk about how much you love the tasty critter.
    My wife is kinda weird. She loves IPA's, really loves borderline cloying Belgian Tripels/Dubels and will enjoy beers that are more "tart" than "sour" but will not touch anything remotely roasty ie. Stotus and Porters.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Guerdonian View Post
    I edited the original post. I think that i was a bit over-specific, and this may be a better class of progression:

    Step 1: Sweet, Mild, drinkable
    Step 2: Malty or Bitter
    Step 3: Very Malty or Very Bitter
    Step 4: Inverse of Step 2 (if it was malty, then this step is bitter)
    Step 5: Inverse of Step 3
    Step 6: Exotic (barrel aged, sour, wild, etc...)

    Sounds like you are getting into the exotic stuff, but the ol wallet is your hold-back. Totally understandable, it gets pricey the deeper you get.
    I'd like to add that since my palate has adapted to IPA's I really dislike cloying beers. I've tried some of the more popular doubles and triples and no thanks. So I'm wondering how many others tend to gravitate to one extreme or the other?
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    Where do Saison's fit on this progression? I feel like they are the one style that 90% of beer drinkers can/should enjoy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bluestatevirgin View Post
    I'd like to add that since my palate has adapted to IPA's I really dislike cloying beers. I've tried some of the more popular doubles and triples and no thanks. So I'm wondering how many others tend to gravitate to one extreme or the other?
    When I leave one style preference and move to another, I tend to still enjoy the styles I like prior, but just not as much. For example when I went from pale ales to the quest of all things bitter, I still liked Pale Ales, just not as much as I did when that was most of what I drank, at which time I still didn't like bourbon stouts. That make any sense? I wasn't a fan of the beers my pallet wasn't ready for, but the beers prior I still enjoyed. Maybe as my tongue became more abused/calloused/hardy it was searching for the next zinger it could handle, still enjoying the past but looking for the next thrill.

    Nowadays maybe I am in more of a beer nirvana, where i go through mini-phases of drinking particular styles, but have a good appreciation for them all. There are those I dislike (pumpkin, and anything with a lot of DMS (cooked corn flavor) like Kolsch or some Pilsners) which in your case may be "cloying beers" but that may be more of a personal preference thing, not because they are bad beer.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Hungus View Post
    Where do Saison's fit on this progression? I feel like they are the one style that 90% of beer drinkers can/should enjoy.
    Hmmmm good point, I think they would be in the wheat/Heff category, or in my more simplified revised list, "level 1". But I could also see the argument that they belong in the Belgian category, and in some rare (but enjoyable cases) for the extreme saison's that border on wild ale's the Sour category. Those are a tough one.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guerdonian View Post
    Hmmmm good point, I think they would be in the wheat/Heff category, or in my more simplified revised list, "level 1". But I could also see the argument that they belong in the Belgian category, and in some rare (but enjoyable cases) for the extreme saison's that border on wild ale's the Sour category. Those are a tough one.
    They are very versatile. They can be a great entry level or gateway beer but at the same time they can be very nuanced and complex. They are usually neither hoppy/bitter nor malty/sweet.
    Last edited by Carl Hungus; 12-21-2012 at 01:08 PM.

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    Cool topic. I think your 6 step program looks similar to my own progression. Now that I have completed the program I often revisit all of the steps, albeit some more than others.

    My beer snob buddies(probably a term used in poor form, but whateva) have had conversations about where we started and where we are now. We all have our own standby styles and will partake in some of the new and/or special creations that come out, but we all really look forward to brews that are outside the norm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Hungus View Post
    An interesting thing I've noticed recently is that a few people that I would not expect, females specifically, have been really into "sours". I use quotation marks since it's a pretty broad classification.

    A prime example was over the summer we ran into some friends and friends of friends at Toronado in San Diego. Someone had ordered a Bear Republic Tartare (Bracingly Sour Berlinerweiss) not knowing what it was. Everybody thought it was horrendous (besides me) and wanted to send it back and then my buddies wife who has probably never had a Berliner or Sour before takes a sip and loves it! She's a pretty awesome girl already but this made her even awesomer in my book.
    Have you tried the Dissident from Deschutes? If you like sour check it out....not for me but for those that like that type of beer it should knock you over.

    I agree with your beer taste preference evolution though I started with Downtown Brown and went darker. I can't drink the light stuff just tastes so bland....but willing to part take for the stoke....
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    Quote Originally Posted by X-FXR View Post
    Have you tried the Dissident from Deschutes? If you like sour check it out....not for me but for those that like that type of beer it should knock you over.

    I agree with your beer taste preference evolution though I started with Downtown Brown and went darker. I can't drink the light stuff just tastes so bland....but willing to part take for the stoke....
    Dissident was virtually impossible to get around these parts this year. It already came and went.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Hungus View Post
    Dissident was virtually impossible to get around these parts this year. It already came and went.
    When it comes out, and your unable to find some I could pick some up for ya bro...wait can't use that term... Usually can get a bottle or two.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guerdonian View Post
    There are those I dislike (pumpkin, and anything with a lot of DMS (cooked corn flavor) like Kolsch or some Pilsners) which in your case may be "cloying beers" but that may be more of a personal preference thing, not because they are bad beer.
    Most of the time I'm ok with Kolsch or Pilsner. I don't go for them, but I won't turn one down. I use the term "cloying" in its most literal sense, as in sweet to the point of too rich. Beers that taste like liquid sugar or carmel. Not hints of those flavors, mind you, but the over-the-top versions that some people like so much. A recent example for me, and my palate, was the Double Bastard. But a lot of holiday ales get too sweet for my tastes. So yeah, it's just preference, I think.
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    I've been stuck on step 9 for a while But unfortunately living in Utah has put a bit of a damper on my quest....

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    I have definitely gone through all 13 steps, though not necessarily in that exact order. IPA's came nearly last for me.

    I (along with most true beer fans, I imagine) tend to pay more attention to the brewer than the type of beer. Certain breweries just work magic, and I like everything (or nearly everything) they put out - from IPA's to stouts. For instance, locally I can count on Parallel 49 beers to be good, no matter what the particular batch.
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