Becoming a Beer Connoisseur takes time, dedication, and most importantly a taste for beer from lots of drinking. Education and experience are key to taking your beer drinking to the next level. The next level in my mind isn’t downing an entire micro keg in a faster time than the night before when you got wasted at a Frat buddies house and puked on his girlfriend. I am talking about sitting down with a friend or 2, bringing a 6 pack of something you haven’t tried before, and talking about the flavors that you experience in your 2 maybe 3 bottles.
Experience comes from trying whatever beer you find, even if you don’t like the style. You can’t just limit yourself to beers that fit your “comfort zone.” Becoming truly seasoned means taking the good with the bad. There may be an IPA that you come to like where as others have failed you miserably. Please don’t listen to anyone that tells you that you have to move on after trying something that you don’t like. I haven’t liked hoppy beers for years and recently stumbled onto something that I have come to enjoy. Another addition that I have tried is a smoked beer I had at Dragonmead Brewery in Michigan. Maybe I will come across something that I like in the future.
Education can include such topics as self brewing, beer styles, ingredients, and heritage. Many, if not all, European brewing styles are superior to those in North America because they have been at it for far longer than even our major breweries so please don’t think that you have reached stardom after trying everything that Budweiser has to offer because I assure you that Bud Select isn’t the smoothest beer in the world. Going through the sometimes painstaking process of brewing your own beer is a great learning experience because little changes can effect the final taste of what you choose to brew.
My only 2 pieces of advice are: get out there are and drink whatever you can, in moderation please, and try brewing your own stuff. Who knows, your tastes may be the next Samuel Adams flavors.