It’s a challenge all craft beer lovers have faced — the friend or family member who claims “I don’t like beer.”
For plenty of people, beer does mean the watery industrial lagers so many of us guzzled down in college. For those who don’t like beer in the classic American commoditized sense, a citrusy IPA, coffee-like stout, or nutty brown ale is all it takes for an ah-ha! moment. There are plenty out there, however, who find even those beers too unpalatable and have sworn off beer forever.
BUT! That’s the beauty of how far craft beer has come, so much so that the nerdiest of beer nerds have turned to beers like hazy IPAs that look and often taste almost like orange juice, and pastry stouts that taste like pie. Breweries are even harnessing the power of hops to alter the flavor of IPAs to barely taste like beer. Then there are the milkshake IPAs that use lactose for an enhanced mouth feel.
There’s a whole world of beer that doesn’t taste remotely like beer to help convince those who’ve sworn off the brewed beverage for good that there is, in fact, a beer for them.
Here are some of the best beers that don’t taste like beer. For convenience purposes, we’ve tried to include beers at least available regionally, but to be sure there are plenty of awesome local brewers experimenting with beers and making them taste like they’re not, well, beer.
UFO Georgia Peach
Even if you hate beer so much can’t stand to think you’ll taste it, UFO Georgia Peach is the brew for you — especially if you’re a peach lover.
The brewery, spun off from Boston-based Harpoon, promises “right-off-the-peach-tree” flavor and it essentially tastes like a bite into a ripe peach. While it’s a hefeweizen base, none of the classic hefeweizen flavors — such as banana or clove — shine through, leaving a refreshing, peachy drink. Not a peach fan? That’s OK, there’s a whole line of other UFO beers that come in variety packs, including pineapple, mango limeade, watermelon lemonade, and blood orange lemonade.
Talking to beer novices, a word to steer away from is sour, but they can be some of the best beers to introduce a hater to the category. Specifically for our “beers that don’t taste like beer” theme, take a look at Sixpoint’s Jammer series. The base beer, Jammer, is a gose, a lightly soured beer originating from Northern Germany that is reminiscent of lemonade. Sixpoint expands this beer with plenty of real fruit juice flavorings, and the “Jammer Pack” includes Citrus Jammer, Ruby Jammer, Tropical Jammer, and Berry Jammer.
Elysian Brewing Raspy Whisper
Washington-based Elysian Brewing is plenty experimental with its beers, once making a pumpkin peach beer — famous for a Budweiser ad making fun of pumpkin peach beers shortly before Bud’s parent acquired the brand (because who doesn’t like a good pint of irony). Elysian hasn’t strayed from its ways and is making Raspy Whisper, a raspberry and chocolate gose. Each barrel of the beer produced has 20 pounds of raspberries and five pounds of cocoa nibs. Clocking in 3.6% alcohol by volume, this fruity, sweet and tangy beer has plenty going for it.
Schlafly Raspberry Hefeweizen
Staying true to the raspberry theme as it’s a powerful and often refreshing flavor, is St. Louis-based Schlafly’s Raspberry Hefeweizen. Schlafly uses plenty of real raspberries during the fermentation process to ensure plenty of bright fruit flavors and a nice pink color. Like a fresh raspberry in the summer, the hefeweizen is clean and tart, yet refreshing.
Moody Tongue Beers
Moody Tongue is a Chicago-based brewery that’s small, but pretty widely-distributed. The brewery was started by Jared Rouben, a chef-turned brewer who brought his culinary mindset to the beer world. His beers include Peeled Grapefruit Pilsner, Caramelized Chocolate Churro Baltic Porter, and Steeped Emperor’s Lemon Saison — all of which are more reminiscent of their foodie namesakes than beer.
Prairie Artisan Ales Prairie Bomb!
This might be a stretch, but why not try to go big? Prairie Artisan Ales‘ Prairie Bomb! Clocks in at a massive 13% ABV, so it’s not gonna drink like a beer. Beer lovers rave about this beer, but so long as one has an adventurous palate, so will non-beer-lovers. It also has loads of chocolate, vanilla beans, coffee, and chili peppers, so there’s plenty of flavor going on to keep a picky drinker from proclaiming, “This tastes like beer!”
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