Beer: a breakdown
    Photo by Natalie Krebs / North by Northwestern
    I love beer. I love stouts, lagers, IPAs, Hefeweizens, pilsners, dubbels, tripels and I'll even have a few light beers if the mood is right. This is why it pains me when people say they don't like beer. I understand that people have different tastes. But we are in the midst of a craft beer revolution. Hundreds of companies around the country are putting out beer in styles and flavors that would make Willy Wonka weep jealously. From Germany, Belgium and beyond, we receive the very best of hundreds of years of brewing tradition. I want everyone to have the chance to experience the wondrous world of beer.

    Unfortunately, some people just can't stand the taste of beer. Maybe you've only tried a few light beers. Perhaps you've been disappointed by encounters with a few lagers and ales. Whatever the case, I'm here to tell you that there's hope. There's a beer out there for you, waiting for you to discover it. To help you in your quest, here is a list of beers that can please even the most discerning palate.


    North Coast Brewing's PranQster: The first time I tried this Belgian Golden Ale, I thought "Holy shit! Bananas!" That's right, a beer that tastes like bananas. This beer is light and fruity, caronated and creamy. It probably ties for "least offensive beer" with the next one on this list. And while this beer isn't from Belgium – North Coast is a California brand – they definitely capture the spirit of a Belgian brewing tradition. Served at Union Pizzeria.

    Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier: This German-made beer tastes a little spicier, but it is also quite fruity and citrusy. If you're looking to sample a piece of beer history: Weinstephaneris the oldest continuously operating brewery in the world (est. 1040). You can even get it on tap at the Map Room in Bucktown, one of Chicago's best bars.

    Sam Adams Summer Ale: In true American fashion, the Boston Beer Company put some strange ingredients in this beer, but the result is great. This beer really does taste like summer.

    Blue Moon: Another wheat beer that also gets called a "summer beer." I like it all year round, especially in a Bat 17 beer tower. If the bartender at Nevin's sneers when you order an orange with your drink, don't back down. Blue Moon and orange go together like Corona and lime. Creamy and citrus-y.

    Left Hand Milk Stout: People tend to be scared of dark beers, but this one couldn't be more approachable. Tastes like a creamy cappuchino. Called a "milk stout" because the brewing process includes adding the milk suger lactose. If you're a coffee fan (and not lactose intollerant), you should give this a try. Nevin's has bottles in the fridge.


    Lindemans Framboise: This beer is a "lambic," a Belgian beer brewed with wild yeast, but more importantly IT'S BREWED WITH RASPBERRIES. Imagine raspberries in liquid champagne form that give you a buzz. For a real treat, order a bottle at the Hop Leaf in Andersonville. Then order the brisket. You won't be disappointed.

    Leinenkugel's Summer Shandy: Beer mixed with carbonated lemonade. I know it sounds strange, but trust me: This beer tastes like a Midwestern summer.

    Shiner Ruby Redbird: A Texas beer with a naturally over-the-top taste. Brewed with ginger and Texas-grown Rio Grande Valley grapefruit. If you're looking to drink something unusual, this is the way to go.

    Magic Hat #9: A pale ale with a unusual taste. I couldn't place it until someone said "apricots!" Then I couldn't not taste it. Make sure to serve very cold, it brings out that flavor.


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