This piece originally appeared on VinePair.
Craft beer is growing faster than ever, and that means more and more people want to get in on this delicious beer movement. But craft beer can be confusing and even a bit snobby and intimidating depending on where you’re purchasing your brew. This can cause many of us to make some mistakes. Here are the 9 most common.
Only Purchasing IPA
India Pale Ale is definitely the craft beer style that put the category on the map, but these days there is a plethora of other delicious craft beer options out there, so experiment with what’s out there. Don’t be the person that simply says, “I’ll take whatever IPA you have.”
Not Taking Advantage Of Mixed Cases
More and more beer outlets are allowing consumers to mix and match their six-pack, instead of purchasing six beers that are all the same. Take advantage of this! It’s a fantastic way to explore and discover new styles, just make sure that mixed six pack isn’t six different IPAs.
Thinking Canned Beer Is Lower In Quality
Craft beer has embraced the can and so should you. While many of the macro-brewers have engrained in our heads that the can means cheap, it’s actually one of the best vessels for protecting and preserving your beer. While a glass bottle allows in light that could harm the beer, a can does no such thing, plus it’s easier to transport and open — an added bonus!
Picking Things That Are Familiar
You may have a brand or two of craft beer that you enjoy, but just like the IPA, branch out a bit. If you’re in a different city, try the beer that is popular in that area. Experiment. While it’s completely fine to have brands you love more than others, every once in a while, try something new.
Thinking Only High-Alcohol Beers Are Legit
It’s true that the craft beer movement helped influence this trend — making higher and higher gravity beers to push the envelope as the category expanded — but now there are several breweries that are embracing and innovating around the session beer and these beers are also delicious. Plus, the session beer allows you to drink a few without feeling tipsy. That means you get to try more delicious beer and actually remember what it tastes like.
Not Asking To Sample The Brew
If you’re at a bar or a craft beer store that sells growlers, you’re missing out if you don’t ask for a sample first. While the person behind the counter probably has a plethora of knowledge about the beer, you have every right to try that beer before you buy it, so don’t be intimidated to ask. Most places will be more than willing to provide you with a taste.
Thinking Once A Craft Brewery Is Purchased By A Macro, It Is No Longer Drinkable
We get it, technically once a brewery is purchased by a large corporation, the beer isn’t craft, as defined by The Brewers Association, but if you refuse to drink a beer simply because it “sold out” you’re going to miss out on some really good beer. Sure Elysian Brewery sold to AB InBev, but they make some of the best pumpkin beer out there, so not trying it if you’re a pumpkin beer fan would be a big mistake. The same goes for Ballast Point or Goose Island; these breweries as still making good beer, so if you’re a beer fan, enjoy them.
Avoiding Large-Format Bottles
Large-format bottles — that’s beers bottled in vessels the size of wine bottles or larger — are priced more similarly to the price of a bottle of wine, and that can seem very un-beer, but you need to give at least a few of these large formats a try. Often, these beers are the geekiest, most experimental beers a brewery makes, and tasting them can open up a whole world of beer flavors. So bite the bullet and grab a bottle or two the next time you get a few friends together.
Being Afraid To Say You Don’t Like Something
Just because the beer is craft, doesn’t mean you have to like it. The craft beer movement comes with some very passionate people, and those people can make it very hard sometimes for others to feel like they can speak up with a differing view. But the most important thing when it comes to craft beer is to drink what you like. The craft beer movement has caused there to be more breweries and beers available than ever before. We should embrace the plethora of choices and drink what we enjoy. Don’t overthink it or get caught up in the hype.