Five ways to enjoy craft beer (that won’t turn you into a hipster)

Beerista: five ways to get started

Many people are put off craft beer for one reason or another. It’s too high in alcohol. Too bitter. Too hipstery.

And I’ve often wondered how to change their minds – or how to introduce someone to craft beer who is used to drinking mainstream lagers or stouts, or who doesn’t drink beer at all. I reckon it all comes down to having the right approach – and a bit of fun. So, here goes with my micro guide to converting to craft beer:

Hold off on IPAs. Currently the best selling of craft beers, the India Pale Ale is generally an intensely hopped beer and is not for the uninitiated. People often make the mistake of starting with an IPA but it takes a while to get used to this level of bitterness and while you may come to adore it, it's not an 'entry beer'.

Stay in. Invite over a few friends to sample some different beers. I'd recommend picking up at least three styles – a lager or pale ale, a red ale and a stout – and going from light to dark beers when tasting. Suggestions: look out for Eight Degrees' lovely Barefoot Bohemian pilsner; O'Hara's do a tasty, straight-up traditional Irish red; and Porterhouse Plain is a smooth and light, easy-drinking stout.


Avoid pseudo-craft beers. These are beers made by the macro breweries now muscling into the craft beer market, though so far they don't seem to be able to do them very well.

Check the ABV. If the alcohol level is on the higher end, or over 6%, drink it slowly, leave it until the last drink of the evening, or share it.

Start local. There's a good possibility you're living close to one of the many great new independent Irish microbreweries so why not support them?

(And PS: drinking great, well-made beer won’t suddenly turn you into a hipster.)