The Beginner’s Guide to Ordering Beer

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A guide to imbibing without embarrassment

There’s no reason why wine lists should take all the heat for being super intimidating and exclusionary.

Indeed, for those still operating on a learning curve when it comes to beer, many of the great lists at today’s geekiest spots read like a textbook for an AP class you weren’t prepared to take.

It’s no secret that the country’s craft beer revolution has been growing with fervor over the last decade — filling taps, bottles, and cans with a richly diverse array of inspired and boundary-pushing creations dreamed up by breweries both large and small. There are intensely hopped and aggressively aromatic IPAs, low-alcohol yet highly flavorful session beers, and boundary-pushing porters.

It’s a lot to keep track of — and an overwhelming amount of information for beginners to take on. Even beyond the ever-expanding selection of brews to choose from, there are things like learning how to taste a beer and food pairing basics to master.

To that end, we’ve put together this basic guide to help you become a more informed imbiber.