Sure – beer is like a lot of things… if you over-indulge, it will likely make you gain a few pounds. However, beer does not have significantly more calories than wine or most mixed drinks and you’re not as likely to over-indulge in quality (craft) beer because it is very satiating. Besides, once you get into drinking beer, it becomes something you work for: “if I do 3 more miles on the bike I can have an extra pint!”
Recommend: stay away from stouts and porters if you want to avoid extra calories. Wit beers (like Fort George Brewery’s Quick Wit) are a great option for summer (see comments below for some clarifying points about this recommendation).
Beer menus can certainly be overwhelming. However, typically it’s a safe bet to order a brown ale. If you go into a tasting room and get a brown ale that you aren’t – at the very least – intrigued by, chances are that the brewery you’re visiting isn’t that great. Time to move along. At the bottle shop you may find a similarly overwhelming variety of beers – depending on where you’re located. It’s highly probable that the best selection in a bottle shop will come from local brewers… so if you don’t know who the local brewers are, ask.
Recommend: start with a basic style – nothing too fancy – and explore from there. Stone Brewing’s Arrogant Bastard Ale is one of my favorites and, in spite of its name, is fairly un-intimidating.
Yeah, I hear ya.
Recommend: Eat fruits, vegetables and a couple of Gas-Ex before you start drinking. Drink a cup or two of water between every beer. All of this will help to move the carbonation through your system and prevent it from lingering in your gut.
Maybe… but there are some pretty “big” beers our there right now (this is how beer geek types refer to a beer that has a high ABV – “big”). Barley wines are typically higher ABV’s and so are Imperial IPA’s.
Recommend: Dogfish Head 120 Minutes IPA. ~18% ABV… Just one will give you a delightful buzz.
Are you sure? Chances are if you’ve never had a craft beer, you don’t really know what beer tastes like. As a relative newbie to the craft beer world myself, I’ve found that there is a lot of nuance to different beer styles.
Recommend: Go to your nearest craft brewery and order a flight of beers. If by the end of that flight you haven’t found a style that you like, try again the following week at another brewery. :)
Cheers - Amy