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  1. #1
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    Default Beer & Whisky & Other Horrible Things

    Ok, to spin off from the various wine threads:

    I like wine a lot, but I remember how I started way back when, with wine coolers and dessert wines. That's kind of where I am with beer now, trying to develop a palate for it. Thus far I only like the wheat beers, like Hoegaarden, Blue Moon, etc. I tried a chocolate stout once and was bitterly disappointed that the chocolate was a lie
    I assume what I don't like is the hops, since they give the bitterness. Wheat beer is the least beery beer out there (not counting fruit iambics which are delicious but hardly beer); what should be my next step?

    Also, whisky. I hate it. It burns and is unpleasant and icky. I can drink vodka and rum so it's not the alcohol content that bothers me but the taste.

    I am told that there are more beginner-friendly types out there, like Glenmorangie Nectar D'or, but I'm worried. I have tried whiskies that claim on their label to be flowery or fruity or whatnot, and all I taste is HORRIBLE ICK. Is there a wheat beer equivalent of whisky?



  2. #2
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    Probably the honey varieties. American Honey or Jack Daniels Honey. I can drink both straight without making too many faces, but I like whisky in general...
    "Are you yawning? You don't ride well enough to yawn. I can yawn, because I ride better than you. Meredith Michael Beerbaum can yawn. But you? Not so much..."
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  3. #3
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    Um...why would you want to learn to like something that, when you get a good one, is going to set you back at LEAST $38/bottle? And if you want something mild, setting aside you shouldn't be drinking whisky/whiskey (there IS a difference) in the first place, the smoothest I've ever had (note I didn't say light) was a small-batch single-malt aged in old sherry casks. At this point (ten years later) it's probably in the $85+ a bottle range. If you don't like whiskey, don't drink it.

    Whiskey=American, Canadian, and Irish. Whisky = Scotch. There are flavor differences (IME it's the Irish ones that are 'peaty') but honestly, if you don't like a really strong assertive alcohol, don't drink any of them. I mean, you could try Kentucky bourbons or Tennessee whiskeys which are usually corn based and sweeter, but again...why would you want to?

    If you don't like dark beers, what you don't like is the burnt barley malt. Lighter-colored beers tend to be more hoppy (and I cannot stand them myself-the ONLY ones I'll drink are porters and maybe a stout, ie as dark as you can get.) That's what makes it dark (I describe it as 'burnt cookie' flavor.) You MIGHT, if you want to branch out (and as there's no law saying you HAVE to drink other kinds of beer, I don't see that you need to), try pale ales and various lagers.

    Again, I'm not really seeing why you need to train yourself to like alcohols you don't like. I like gin (in G&Ts or Tom Collins, which is as girly as I generally get), I like a certain kind of Scotch, I like wines (except French reds and most California crap, and I've outgrown my 'starter' wines, which were German/German-grape whites, except ones grown outside of Germany), I cannot stand beer except Porters so dark they don't taste like beer...so I don't drink them. I don't like rum, I don't really like vodka (I don't DISlike it; good vodka has no real flavor), I don't do mixed ESPECIALLY after getting a bartender's certificate (passed a course in mixing and serving and got my ServeSafe Alcohol--most important lesson, if anyone ever offers you a dirty water shot, a drip-mat shot, or anything similar, SAY NO) beyond some vintage cocktails like a Moscow Mule or classic martini (or rather a Gibson as I like cocktail onions)...I don't go out of my way to drink things I don't like. Since I don't like rum, I don't feel compelled to teach myself to like it. I don't like Chablis wines, I don't force myself to drink it. Drink what you LIKE. If you don't like whiskey, don't make yourself.



  4. #4
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    Whisky is gross. I don't think any kind of variation will taste good.
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  5. #5
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    Whisky?

    Why would anyone want to like that?

    If you have to drink, pick something more civilized, like brandy.

    They tell me, everything tastes the same after the second drink anyway.



  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by danceronice View Post
    Um...why would you want to learn to like something that, when you get a good one, is going to set you back at LEAST $38/bottle?
    ...
    Drink what you LIKE. If you don't like whiskey, don't make yourself.
    Because when I started drinking wine, I pretty much hated it all, and started via wine coolers and other sugary junk. Now I very much enjoy wine, but it did take palate development.

    I've also grown to actually enjoy the wheat beers, and have slowly been trying a whole range of different ones. This far the only other beers I liked are "winter ales," which I gather can be different types. I know I had Belgian Strong Dark Ale and English Warmer styles.
    And it's not that the beer is light or dark. The chocolate stout was too bitter for me, but trying an IPA was the worst beer experience in my life thus far

    The whisky is because my friends like going out to whisky-serving pubs with extensive menus. I figured there must be something I can at least try.
    Again, why not try to develop a palate?


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  7. #7
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    I'm pretty opposite. Never had Scotch, Love Whiskey (Gentlman Jack mmmm) but hate, hate both vodka and rum.
    I love Blue Moon and Killians.
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  8. #8
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    Alright. *I* find single malts much more drinkable than blends, and the older the better. You have to SIP them, move them around your mouth, inhale, smell the flavors and then swallow. It's not just about drinking them...it's more of an experience. And a special occasion thing. (Has to be, with the cost!) I like Macallan. If you want to ease into it, consider having the drink on the rocks, but it's really a sin for a real enthusiast.

    For beer, you probably want to consider IBU.


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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coanteen View Post
    Because when I started drinking wine, I pretty much hated it all, and started via wine coolers and other sugary junk. Now I very much enjoy wine, but it did take palate development.

    I've also grown to actually enjoy the wheat beers, and have slowly been trying a whole range of different ones. This far the only other beers I liked are "winter ales," which I gather can be different types. I know I had Belgian Strong Dark Ale and English Warmer styles.
    And it's not that the beer is light or dark. The chocolate stout was too bitter for me, but trying an IPA was the worst beer experience in my life thus far

    The whisky is because my friends like going out to whisky-serving pubs with extensive menus. I figured there must be something I can at least try.
    Again, why not try to develop a palate?
    ...Because developing a palate is about finding what you LIKE, not torturing yourself in the futile hope that you will eventually find something that doesn't have the principle flavor profile of the entire beverage category? Whiskey/whisky is a very assertive and very expensive (for good ones) drink. If you don't like the primary flavor, don't force it down like medicine in the mistaken belief you'll like if you just keep drinking enough.

    I'm not a wine critic--therefore I don't go around forcing myself to drink varietals or regions I don't like. I'll try things with which I'm unfamiliar, but if I don't like it, I don't keep drinking it in the hopes that'll change. Forcing myself to drink sweeter champagnes or syrupy whites will not make me like them. Likewise, I just do not like beer. I don't feel any compulsion to force myself to drink it. (My coworker is the same way-he'll drink some hard liquor-his preference is good Tequila--and some wines, but he hates beer and almost never touches it.)

    Maybe it comes from NOT starting to drink by starting with cheap crap (my parents didn't drink garbage so I never was tempted by it), but even then, sure, I had to work my way into wines--that doesn't mean I feel compelled to search out things I haven't liked before to try and make myself enjoy it.

    Drink what you like. If you aren't liking whiskey, drink something else. You might like bourbons (my brother, who is not a whiskey drinker, does like a couple mixed drinks made with bourbons.) Brandy is another, if you get good ones. But given the money and calories involved in drinking alcohol, I don't really see the point if you're not tasting/reviewing for a living of going out of your way to drink.



  10. #10
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    I always loved a good single malt scotch, usually something hideously pricey and couldn't get by the stench of blended. Stench is the same word I applied to rye and other domestic whiskies - there is a reason people mix them with cola or fruit juices - to kill the taste and mute the smell. The much vaunted Canadian Club was one of the stinkiest and most raw tasting rye I ever came across. I also loved a good dry . Drank both the gin and the scotch neat and loved the taste of both. Beer was thirst quencher and I never did get drinking rotten grape juice....er wine, could stand neither the rotting stench nor the taste.
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  11. #11
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    Because besides wheat beer, I don't really know what the next easiest step would be. Wine is relatively easy with sweet, semi-sweet, off dry, dry etc - like you, when I first started into actual wines it was with the German whites and white blends like Liebfraumilch. But with wine the "starters" aren't hard to figure out, and they tend to be where most people start.

    With beer OTOH people who start in teenagehood seem to start with whatever's cheapest, but not necessarily beginner-friendly for the palate, so figuring out what a progression would be is more difficult.

    I'm not "forcing" myself to do anything, the cost is not an issue, and the calories aren't either given that I'm not out there doing daily or even weekly tastings. I do want to figure out what I like, but I don't know what I don't know. With beer I have found a couple of things I like already, and there may be others, so people who know beer (or whisky) better might be able to guide me.



  12. #12
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    I thought Whisky was foul, until I tried a single malt. Heaven in a glass. But it's expensive. I'm still not that keen on Whiskey (as above there is a difference)
    My preference is for a NZ brand Whisky, which I'm not going to name because there is only a limited supply left as the business failed waiting for the Whisky to mature



  13. #13
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    Beer - i don't like hoppy beers, either (IPAs - can't drink these). I used to lean toward the wheat beers, as well, and still really like Blue Moon (original and also their seasonals and odds and ends) and a good hef. You might want to try more Belgians, and any malty browns or reds. These tend to be less hoppy, but that will still vary depending on the beer / brewery. Pilsners can be really good (light and simple).

    Many servers will point you in the right direction if they have a good selection and you can tell them what general type of flavors you like.

    Rogue makes some really awesome beers, and there are a ton of different really great Belgians. I also like Leinenkugels - they are regional (WI), but we've started getting them in retail stores out here in Seattle.

    Have fun! In the U.S. we seem to have access to more and more beers every day, there is some really great stuff out there!

    Whisky - can't really drink the stuff, even though i do like other kinds of hard alcohol.
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  14. #14
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    OP, I totally get where you're coming from. I started my wine drinking with the sweet Rieslings and worked my way up. I think you can do the same with beer. My friends are all craft beer nuts, while I'm the cider lover. So I try a lot of their beers, and go to beer fests and am starting to find things I like. I do highly recommend hard ciders, if you can get some of the good craft types, not just grocery store brands (though Woodchuck has some pretty good varieties).

    Since you like lambics, you might like some sour beers, like a Berlinerweisse. Also harder to find, of course. An example I like is Bear Republic Tartare. Easier to get beer I've liked - Abita Purple Haze and Lost Coast Tangerine Wheat. Not sure of distribution but 21st Amendment Hell or High Watermelon Wheat is tasty.

    If you have a good craft beer brew pub around, they are great places to go. There are Flying Saucer bars in Raleigh and Charlotte; not sure where you are, but they'd be a good place to try, I think. A good beer nerd bartender helps immensely - you tell them what you've liked so far, and they usually help you expand into others.

    Also consider a beer fest - lots of fun, you pay maybe $55 or so, and you can try one ounce samples for a few hours, whatever looks or sounds good. If you don't like it, shotgun it or toss it, it's only an ounce.

    Have fun!



  15. #15
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    Whiskey, scotch - to me it all tastes like I imagine dirty feet would.



  16. #16
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    The question for me is how do you develop a sophisticated palate? To me, red wine is red wine, white white, beer is pretty much beer. With wine (as I've only been of legal drinking age for 2.5 years technically) I always just snagged a glass of whatever the adults around me were drinking. Which I found vile at 17, but over time I started to enjoy it.

    Seriously though, over Thanksgiving my grandparents served a $1,200 bottle of something and all I remember is it was red and didn't taste any better to me than a glass of *gasp* Yellow Tail.

    I guess it doesn't help that I live in BFE so I can't just pop around to wine tastings to see what's what.
    "Why would anybody come here if they had a pony? Who leaves a country packed with ponies to come to a non-pony country? It doesn't make sense!"



  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scaramouch View Post
    The question for me is how do you develop a sophisticated palate? To me, red wine is red wine, white white, beer is pretty much beer. With wine (as I've only been of legal drinking age for 2.5 years technically) I always just snagged a glass of whatever the adults around me were drinking. Which I found vile at 17, but over time I started to enjoy it.

    Seriously though, over Thanksgiving my grandparents served a $1,200 bottle of something and all I remember is it was red and didn't taste any better to me than a glass of *gasp* Yellow Tail.

    I guess it doesn't help that I live in BFE so I can't just pop around to wine tastings to see what's what.
    Just because something has a high price tag doesn't mean it's GOOD. I would rather have Veuve Cliquot champagne (currently retailing around $50 a bottle, give or take $10) than Cristal (much pricier) because the Cristal I've had is sugary while the Veuve is drier and has more of a yeasty profile. (I've never had their Le Grande Dame because that's about three times as much a bottle.) I'll pass on BOTH in favor of ca. $12-bottle Freixnet Cordon Negro, a Spanish sparkling wine. OTOH, I gag on Korbel, which is cheaper as well.

    "Crap" doesn't automatically equal cheap with wine. I've got some Lucky Duck (they're a blender, not a grower) that are $3.97 a bottle at Wal-Mart and so far the Spanish Tempranillo was very nice. Got a Chardonnay from S.E. Australia and a Malbec from Argentina still to try. If you're near a Trader Joe's with a liquor license even wine reviewers will tell you, their "Two-Buck Chuck" is actually pretty darn good. Yellow Tail is not at all a bad label--I like their Shiraz (Aussie Shirazes are always a good bet, that variety does very well there.) When you're in a restaurant, look at what they have by the glass and try something new. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't (I tried a Lebanese white at a middle eastern place and that was not a good plan. I'm sure there are good wines from Lebanon, that was not one of them.) Try local stuff or from 'non-traditional' states. Michigan whites, especially Rieslings, routinely trounce California, French, and German whites in professional tastings. New York also does really great Riesling types (as does Ontario-same region, other side of the lake.)

    Same with beer--get OFF the crap, especially "lite" beers from Bud et al, and try things until you find stuff you like. The big box stores (Wal Mart, Meijer in the midwest) often carry local breweries. If you want a 'craft' feel from a mass distributor look at Sam Adams's varieties as a "starter"--they have the advantage of being widely available. My dad has a bad habit of trying a new/local beer and then never being able to find it again! Same deal with wine at restaurants--when you go out, try something new, especially if you find a place that has a big selection. Eventually, you'll find something you like.

    It's not really about being "sophisticated." You do not have to sit there sniffing and swirling and dissecting every flavor you think you taste. Yes, if you want to really learn to like wine, you should get off wine coolers, Arbor Mist, and other sugar sodas (though even those aren't ALL bad--Smirnoff Ice that is NOT sold in the US is not bad at all. US version is a malt beverage, don't bother, the one in Canada and Australia is a mixed vodka drink.) If you like Yellow Tail wines, try other Australian wines (they'll be in the same section at most stores.) Don't feel like you have to spend a fortune or it must be bad.

    Heck, I don't like most French wines. I "graduated" from German whites, but I like mostly Italian and Spanish wines from Europe. The French ones I just do not care for--I'll take American Chardonnays over theirs. Everything but champagne (which really can only be called Champagne if it's from that district in France) I just don't like. Some wine critics would turn up their nose, but I'm not saying no one should drink them, just that I would rather have a Chilean red or an American Gewurtztraminer or an Italian Pinot Grigio. I don't feel obliged to keep trying French wines until I find one I like.


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  18. #18
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    Why complicate the question? If you don't like it, don't drink it. Sure, try the various offerings, but don't feel guilty if they don't suit your taste.

    Full disclosure: I like beer and whiskey, but unfortunately, can no longer drink them, except for the occasional sip. Which is bad, because there are some very interesting microbrews hitting the shelves.

    Getting old sucks.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scaramouch View Post
    The question for me is how do you develop a sophisticated palate? To me, red wine is red wine, white white, beer is pretty much beer. With wine (as I've only been of legal drinking age for 2.5 years technically) I always just snagged a glass of whatever the adults around me were drinking. Which I found vile at 17, but over time I started to enjoy it.

    Seriously though, over Thanksgiving my grandparents served a $1,200 bottle of something and all I remember is it was red and didn't taste any better to me than a glass of *gasp* Yellow Tail.

    I guess it doesn't help that I live in BFE so I can't just pop around to wine tastings to see what's what.
    You just keep drinking, I think

    For me, I kept trying, and listened to pairing suggestions. I went to a couple of "wine tasting 101" seminars but I think it was too early in my wine-drinking journey, I couldn't taste much of anything. Now I find mysled picking up tasting notes on my own, and enjoying how the wine changes with food. I often try new things in restaurants.

    I've had a few expensive offerings from co-workers who have wine cellars, and they were good but not so good that I'd pay what they paid for those And I quite like the Yellow Tail Shiraz; so does my mom, who's mostly into big French reds. It's a good wine!

    Experimentation helps. My cousin was living in France for a while and her hubby is a wine buff, so I got to try what's considered good locally (not necessarily what's imported into Canada, alas). My mind changed about some of the Bordeaux wines, and I absolutely fell in love with a white from Loire called Pouilly Fume which is hard to find where I am. I also returned to Rieslings but aged ones, with a very dominant petrol note. I can now taste that note, and I love it



  20. #20
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    I love whiskey, cognac, bourbon, brandy, yes you have to acquire a taste.

    I want mine straight, and room temp - no ice - no water.

    But I can't really drink straight vodka, flavored is ok. But either have to be frozen cold to drink. Other hard stuff, is tough for me to drink. Mixed is ok.

    I would also be the person who likes Guinness Stout. But can drink any beer. Not pumpkin spice flavored though. No white wine, makes my tummy hurt. All mixed drinks pretty much. Love red wine. Not too sweet though.

    I have no idea why I like these.

    I am refraining from any alcohol at the moment, trying to drop some weight.



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