Beer is a man’s drink. It’s a cliché statement, and it’s mostly untrue. That being said, if a man knows his way around the world of beer brands and has some unique and exciting experiences to share, he has another powerful set of options in his playbook when it comes to leading a high-value and interesting interaction, whether on a first date at the neighbourhood pub or after a bounce from the club. Some of the following information may be interesting to anyone who will admit to enjoying a pint every now and then.
Don’t be a beer snob. Don’t be a know-it-all. Be interested, and you will be interesting.
Beer Brands – What To Drink
So without further ado, let’s look at beer brands and what they can do for you in a first-date/venue-change scenario.
Guinness Stout – By many estimations the most recognised of all beer brands around the world, this dry stout came out of St. James Gate, Dublin in the mid-1700s. Many young would-be Bacchants are fond of telling me with admirable confidence, “if you like X, you’ll LOVE Y”, or “you’ll love it; it tastes like Z”, and whilst I tend to avoid such comparisons when it comes to drinks, shots and beer brands, I am yet to meet a coffeedrinker who was unable to manage a creamy pint of Guinness.
It has definitely been stereotyped as a man’s beverage, but there is some credit to the hype. If you are looking for a classic to fall back on, one that you will find at most halfway respectable venues, make this one a taste to acquire. Any girl who will share one with you is a keeper.
Yuengling Lager – Order a “pint of lager” in much of the US-American Northeast and this is what you will get. I first tasted this Pennsylvania brew at the behest of a good friend and proud New Englander, and it remains in my view the best deal out there in terms of taste/cost. Not only is Yuengling the oldest of all American beer brands, it remains one of true quality. German immigrant David Gottlob Jüngling of Stuttgart founded the “Eagle Brewery” in the early 1800s, and though the brewery has been renamed and rebranded, the bald eagle remains the iconic symbol of this US-American cousin to the German-style lager, a beer stored (gelagert) at low temperatures and containing bottom-fermenting yeast.
While this, the most storied of all American beer brands, is not so commonly found in bars or pubs across America, it is well worth making a point to familiarise yourself with it, whether if you purchase it at the supermarket, or if you do happen across a pub that serves Yuengling draught.
New Belgium (Fat Tire) – Ales are brewed with top-fermented yeast at warm temperatures, and they are delicious. In fact, if I had my own choice of beer at any given moment, I would be most likely to pick an amber or red ale.
Fat Tire, as with most New Belgium Brewing Company products, tends to be on the hoppy side for my liking (hops are included for preservation, and give some beers a more bitter aftertaste), but as New Belgium is one of the top craft breweries in the United States, Fat Tire or any of its seasonal buddies will be easy to find as a draught option at any bar or pub in the US.
Newcastle Brown Ale – This brown ale, the best known in the world, hails from a tiny town in between Leeds and York in the northeast of England. Although originally intended to rival Bass Ale (a worthy alternative, if you find it), this late-1920s brew is in my experience easy to find around the world and easy to enjoy.
Newcastle was actually not on my list of favourite beer brands until 2010, when it became a custom for me and my good friend King James, co-captain of our collegiate futsal club, to meet at O’Connell’s Pub for pints (yes, plural) before intramural matches (I was goalkeeper, so the effects were significantly less uncomfortable for me). This leads me into the final piece of advice when it comes to beer brands…
Whatever helps tell your story – Remember that regardless of whether you are meeting a woman for drinks at the pub or bouncing her home from the club for some after-hours drinks, your goal is to tell your story. Can beer brands make it happen for you? No.
But can beer brands set the stage for you to make it happen? Most definitely.
It’s not what the beer brands say about you, it’s what you say about the beer brands. For me, as well as for many adventurous world-travellers, experimental college drinkers, or even curious cultural enthusiasts, various beer brands come with experiences and memories. Newcastle Brown Ale is a ridiculous (but 100% true) story involving my participation in football at university. Also on my list is Kilkenny Cream Ale¹, the first “regular” I ever had (many people fancy the idea of having a restaurant where one can order “the usual”…well, mine was the pub, much to the dismay of my conservative parents). It took me three years since moving from Austria to the USA to locate Kilkenny draught, and I enjoy every sip of it when I have such an opportunity. Starobrno Černé is a beer I cannot hope to find anywhere but Central Europe, where I spent time playing guitar on the street and using my newfound skills in the social arts to meet friends and find beds in Vienna and Prague.
The point is, whichever beer brand you order, make it one you can appreciate and enjoy, and do your best to share that appreciation and enjoyment with the lucky lady.
BONUS: Beer Brands for the Ladies
If a girl will tolerate – or even better, order at her own volition – a pint of Guinness, then make item one on the following day’s to-do list “buy engagement ring”.
In the likely event you do not find such a girl, here is a short list of brands that will appeal much more to the ladies than the heavier stouts, porters, ales and lagers listed above.
Hefeweizen – Wheat beer is a cousin of the classic ale in that it is required by the Bavarian Purity Law (no joke – Bavaria, the southernmost state in Germany, has laws, the Rheinheitsgebot dating back over 500 years which include certain regulations for beer production) to be top-fermented, but much of the malted barley is replaced by wheat. The low-hop beer is entirely too sweet for my taste, which is probably why nearly every girl I know (save for one who only drinks vodka) loves Weissbier. Common beer brands include Paulaner, Hofbräu², Franziskaner and Weihenstefaner³. Also common is the Colorado-based beer brand Blue Moon, which is based on the Belgian witbier.
Lambic Fruit Beer – Imagine SweeTarts pulverised and mixed with a slight trace of alcohol. It is no surprise that every woman loves these beverages. Don’t be caught dead ordering one of these for yourself! Commonly found Lambic fruit beer brands include Lindemann’s Framboise and Saint-Louis Peche.
Corona – What girl doesn’t want to imagine herself in a bikini on a Cancún beach? Corona is actually a pale lager, meaning it’s a slightly watered down and slightly more colonial cousin of the same stuff you would get at Oktoberfest4 in Munich.
Any Anheuser-Busch product – Enough said.
So with that said, feel free to share your own tastes and beer stories. We all have them, and we should all be (mostly) proud of them!
- Think of the taste of a delicious amber ale, but with the consistency of a creamy stout such as Guinness.
- Pronunciation: HOHF-broi. Don’t make this about eyebrows. Bräu is the German word for “brew”.
- Pronunciation: VINE-shte-FAH-nuh. Fun fact: most German beers ending in -er are named either for the city in which it is brewed or for the order of Roman Catholic monk that founded the brewery. Examples: Paulaner, Franziskaner, Weihenstefaner, Wernesgrüner, Warsteiner (their Dunkelbier, or dark lager, is a personal favourite of mine).
- Little-known fact: Oktoberfest is NOT meant to be held in October. It is held in the 16 days before its culmination, the first weekend in October. So it’s a September thing.