Preferred Styles and How Brewing Changes Them

So, I was thinking today about how my style preferences have changed over the years, and then about how brewing has dramatically changed everything.

Before college, I never drank. At all. Well, except on Passover, and Manischewitz wasn’t exactly endearing me to adult beverages :wink: .

In college, I developed a huge affinity for IPAs. This lasted a few years, but eventually I got tired of them and came to really enjoy brown ales. Still, I always found the more subtle flavors of many lager styles to be unimpressive, preferring the bolder flavors of browns and even IPAs.

Last year, I started brewing, and suddenly I’m (re)interesting in all kinds of different styles. After IPAs fell out of favor, I developed this notion that they were the result of simply throwing a ton of hops in and calling it a day. I quickly realized that wasn’t the case at all, and so I tried my hand at it. While I wasn’t 100% pleased with the initial results, my appreciation for the style was rekindled in a big way, and I’m now refining my two “house” beers: an IPA and a brown.

I’ve also come to develop a greater appreciation for lagers and other styles I’ve generally avoided. Now that I know the kind of craftsmanship that can go into them, I find them much more interesting and enjoyable.

Once I get my “house” recipes dialed in, it will be exciting to explore the other possibilities out there, and perhaps add new styles to my list of favorites.

Anyone else find dramatic shifts in their tastes over the years and/or as a result of brewing?

I can definitely relate to this.

I didn’t drink until I was 21.

The very first beer I had was a Guinness. I’m part Irish and thought I should enjoy the beer of my Irish heritage.

I could barely choke it down - I thought it was horrendous.

I started drinking the Smirnoff’s and Mich Golden Light.

It was Leinenkugel’s Honey Weiss that got me going on craft beer. But still, the heavier beers (IPA, Imperials, Belgian styles) were too much for me.

One day I picked up a sampler of the Goose Island brews. I save the IPAs for last because I knew I didn’t like them very much. Lo and behold, that first Goose Island IPA changed everything for me. For whatever reason I loved it!

Looking back it was probably due to the fact that I jumped in with the heavy beer too big too fast.

These days, Leinenkugles and Sam Adams are bottom of the barrel for me in terms of good beer.

IPA is still my favorite variety and so are Belgian Trippels. There’s a local brewery here called Third Street and their Lost Trout Brown Ale has renewed my faith in brown ales (never was a big fan).

So yes, my tastes have definitely evolved.

I’ve only been brewing for about 18months - but it was my love for good beer that got me into brewing. So I’m sure I’ll start developing brews of my own the mimic the beers I buy at the liquor store.

Funny, the beer that turned me on to beer was Wild Goose IPA (back in the mid-90s, when Wild Goose was still a small brewery on MD’s eastern shore). I’m thinking there’s a fowl joke in here somewhere :wink: .


Well I went from drinking Coors Light, almost exclusively for 30 years, to drinking IPA’s and loving them. A friend came to a party I had with some “Blue Moon” homebrew. I thought it was pretty good, so I started brewing.

The funny thing is that I have brewed most styles and drank my own before I ever even tried a commercial version of that style. First Brown Ale = mine, First Saison = mine, First RIS = mine, First Barleywine=mine and so on. I would usually drink a few and then out of curiosity go get a commercial version to see if that was what it was supposed to taste like.

I still have trouble honing in on single house recipes because there is so much beer and so little time

A huge part of why I’m refining my recipes is so I can dial in my process. Now that I almost have that down, I’m starting to tweak ingredients to see how different things affect the flavor. This will help me craft recipes to achieve a specific flavor profile.

I figure after a few months of that I’ll start experimenting with styles more.

before I started brewing, I drank Miller Lite. Don’t get me wrong, I drank the hell out of Guinness when I lived in london, along with Staropramen, Budvar, Bass (on cask) and a bunch of other stuff I didn’t appreciate. Typically though, I were looking for flavor prior to brewing, I’d get a craft cocktail.

When I made a New Years resolution to brew beer, my first one was a Brewer’s Best Imperial Blonde kit. It was actually more brunette, as I probably added the extract way too early. But man was it good. I never liked ‘hoppy’ beers until I used them in making my own beer. I think the blond had an ounce of liberty’s or something @ 60 minutes, but the smell was intoxicating. Really disgusting at first, but then it grew on me. It grew on me so much that the 2nd beer I ever brewed was an IPA.

As Jamil says, every style in the BJCP is a great style to drink if its well made. I have since really learned to appreciate all styles. Though its rare I would ever order (or brew) a hefe :slight_smile:

Also, re: Goose Island, I remember the first time I had that being a breakthrough moment on IPAs. I think its because its got a ton of hop character in the aroma and taste, but is NOT overly bitter, like some examples. Its still a crisp beer thats sessionable. Forgetting where its made, is it considered an east coast IPA or West coast? Flower Power by Ithaca is one of my favorite IPAs, and while its made on the east coast, it drinks more like a west coast IPA. (I think the BJCP should split the Am IPA style into E/W coast)

I think Goose Island is in Chicago, or that area of the midwest?

[edit]Chicago it is

[quote=“ickyfoot”]I think Goose Island is in Chicago, or that area of the midwest?

[edit]Chicago it is


Right they are in Chicago (I believe there is an actual Goose Island on Lake Michigan), I was more speaking to the logical response of ‘how can a “West Coast” IPA be made on the East Coast’? The Ithaca Flower Power example is one where a West Coast IPA is made on the east coast. :blah:


long day @ work, I’m a bit fried.

Oh! I gotcha. I took “Forgetting where it is made” to mean something different (obviously) :wink: .

I like to think of Goose Island IPA as a sort of historical throwback. It’s a taste of what American IPA was like before it sold out*. :smiley:

But I might be partial. It’s also one of the first non-BMC beers I ever drank* so it gets a special place in my heart.

Anyway, I’m still fairly new to brewing, but I think it’s definitely changing my taste. Or at least corresponding with a change in my taste. I used to be a fair bit of a hophead, and lately I’m getting much, much more interested in malt-forward styles. I’m also coming back around to Belgian beers after a long hiatus, but I’m appreciating them for the subtleties a lot more this time around than the last.

  • Ironic, eh? :smiley: