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Thread: Social Drinking

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    Default Social Drinking

    First, what's even up with beer? I don't get how people think it tastes good. Or is it just cheap? (I'm in the US, on Long Island right now.)
    Anyway, is it a bad idea to take one beer in a social situation, and just sip it, so as to not seem like the odd man out? I don't exactly know how to handle social situations in which alcohol appears and want to know for next time.
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    Default Re: Social Drinking

    Some people like the taste, some people like it upon repeated exposure.

    Some people credit it for the development of cities and civilization.

    As for nursing a single beer through a social gathering... I don't believe that's considered rude, no. Not sure exactly how it would be taken, though that depends on the kind of gathering and how much people are drinking that they'd be paying that much attention to how much you've been drinking.
    Last edited by Coidzor; 2012-09-26 at 08:49 PM.
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    I know people who don't drink when others do so it's not that odd.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr.Epic View Post
    I know people who don't drink when others do so it's not that odd.
    See, I have no idea at all, which is why I'm asking.
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    Default Re: Social Drinking

    Beer is an acquired taste. It is a little bit similiar to coffee in that respect.

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    The main problem is that a lot of people think beer is just beer. You've had one beer, you've had them all. When that is totally not the case. Beers are much like wine, where sure there is some quality control elements going in to produce cheap, low alcohol stuff that you can get 20 cans and just go to town much like there are wine coolers. While there are people who just don't care for the taste of alcohol in general, I think a lot of stigma at least in the States come from the above misconception and just drinking beer their taste buds aren't ready for. Drinking a heavy stout, having never drank a beer in your life, isn't going to end well for most people. Start low, on a pale beer and work your way up if you're really interested in getting into beers. If the hoppy malty taste isn't for you...try lambic fruit beers. They're delicious and fizzy and everything good while still giving you that warm fuzzy feeling.

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    Default Re: Social Drinking

    I used to think I hated beer. This was because all I had ever tried were cheap American lagers (Bud, Busch, etc). They are without doubt awful.

    But good beer? Man, there's a whole world of it out there! I tend towards stouts (dark and malty), scottish ales (thick and sweet), barleywines (complex, about as hoppy as I get, but with equal measure bitter and sweet) and the occasional porter (smoky and rich). Imports and microbrews are readily had these days. Yes, they're more expensive. But you can get drinkable stuff that isn't too bad.

    I also used to attend a lot of parties/social gatherings when I didn't drink. Absolutely nothing wrong with that. Occasionally you'll find someone who thinks you are weird, or insists that you have a drink, but a) nothing wrong with being a little weird and b) you can always say no!

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    Default Re: Social Drinking

    First off: It's your downtime, and as such it is your choice whether or not you're gonna drink, or what. The entire rest of this post runs on the assumption that you are debating whether or not you should enter the world of beer, and it's mostly just a collection of common entry-level considerations and "strategies".

    As a German, my cultural mores might be different, but I do think I know a good bit about beer and the drinking of it. That said, it is generally not considered rude to take your time with the brew - in my experience, that is - as people largely assume you're trying to enjoy the taste rather than the effect - which is a thing with some, after all.

    Yes, beer is cheap, and often it is an acquired taste. This, however, is precisely what has made it such a popular "social" drink, in that it clearly marks the experienced party-goers in the eyes of some, and rarely goes too heavy on the wallet as a plus.

    It is definitely not considered rude to be nursing one beer through the evening when you spend your time talking a lot, or doing other social-occasion-/party-things, by the way, for interrupting conversation just to knock one down definitely is - with most people and situations in which such comes up, anyhow. And then there are people that simply like to take rewinding slow, which is absolutely acceptable - Should someone give you lip over your supposedly insufficient consumption of it, you can always just give lip back (ironically, this tends to be easier, but also a good bit more volatile after having had about enough) or be like "Well, man, not gonna rush this, I'll catch up." or something of the sort.

    Regarding the taste itself, most American beers can be described as - I don't know the word for it - sweet(-ish), as opposed to the more earthy/bitter flavors common in most European brands. As every single brand has its own brewery secrets, though, you'd have to be rather precise with what your poison is for there to be an educated guess.

    Speaking of, however, that's a good way to evade the whole deal if you feel like it: It's okay for someone new to it to test out different brands. So try another kind of beer every so often, like, go for Beck's the one night and for Budweiser the next, and if you don't feel like drinking after all, you can always just say that this particular brand doesn't quite appeal to you.

    Asking the staff to add a hint of Coke - or other non-alcoholic, flavor-intensive drink - to it, which you can generally do where beer is served, or doing so yourself is a good way to get a buzz on without having to taste the undiluted fury quite as strongly, by the by. I believe Sprite is a common favorite, and mixed drinks, while often vilified, are a tried-and-true staple of all gastronomy.

    What you have to remember is that what you're drinking there is, in a way, liquid bread with a built-in brain-disabler, if rarely described that way in polite company. Experiment until you have one that you like, and be open about your doing so. That will generally get you recommendations from more experienced drinkers, which can yield rather surprisingly satisfying results, might jump-start conversations in quite unexpected ways, and if you find that you're just not a beer person, you can just drop the habit and have other things instead - I'd be quite surprised if there would be any trouble to come from that.

    Hope this helps a little, and if there's still questions open, just let me know.
    Last edited by Worlok; 2012-09-26 at 09:19 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tebryn View Post
    The main problem is that a lot of people think beer is just beer. You've had one beer, you've had them all. When that is totally not the case. Beers are much like wine, where sure there is some quality control elements going in to produce cheap, low alcohol stuff that you can get 20 cans and just go to town much like there are wine coolers. While there are people who just don't care for the taste of alcohol in general, I think a lot of stigma at least in the States come from the above misconception and just drinking beer their taste buds aren't ready for. Drinking a heavy stout, having never drank a beer in your life, isn't going to end well for most people. Start low, on a pale beer and work your way up if you're really interested in getting into beers. If the hoppy malty taste isn't for you...try lambic fruit beers. They're delicious and fizzy and everything good while still giving you that warm fuzzy feeling.
    I've tried several different sorts, just tasting. My grandfather drinks one beer every evening with dinner. The only one he's had that I thought was palatable was an Indian one we had out one night.

    Quote Originally Posted by Worlok View Post
    First off: It's your downtime, and as such it is your choice whether or not you're gonna drink, or what. The entire rest of this post runs on the assumption that you are debating whether or not you should enter the world of beer, and it's mostly just a collection of common entry-level considerations and "strategies".

    As a German, my cultural mores might be different, but I do think I know a good bit about beer and the drinking of it. That said, it is generally not considered rude to take your time with the brew - in my experience, that is - as people largely assume you're trying to enjoy the taste rather than the effect - which is a thing with some, after all.

    Yes, beer is cheap, and often it is an acquired taste. This, however, is precisely what has made it such a popular "social" drink, in that it clearly marks the experienced party-goes in some people's eyes, and rarely goes too heavy on the wallet as a plus.

    It is definitely not considered rude to be nursing one beer through the evening when you spend your time talking a lot, or doing other party-things, by the way, for interrupting conversation just to knock one down definitely is - with most people and situations in which such comes up, anyhow. And then there are people that simply like to take rewinding slow, which is absolutely acceptable - Should someone give you lip over your supposedly insufficient consumption of it, you can always just give lip back (ironically, this tends to be easier, but also a good bit more volatile after having had about enough) or be like "Well, man, not gonna rush this, I'll catch up." or something of the sort.

    Regarding the taste itself, most American beers can be described as - I don't know the word for it - sweet(-ish), as opposed to the more earthy/bitter flavors common in most European brands. As every single brand has its own brewery secrets, though, you'd have to be rather precise with what your poison is for there to be an educated guess.

    Speaking of, however, that's a good way to evade the whole deal if you feel like it: It's okay for someone new to it to test out different brands. So try another kind of beer every so often, like, go for Beck's the one night and for Budweiser the next, and if you don't feel like drinking after all, you can always just say that this particular brand doesn't quite appeal to you.

    Asking the staff to add a hint of Coke - or other non-alcoholic, flavor-intensive drink - to it, which you can generally do where beer is served, or doing so yourself is a good way to get a buzz on without having to taste the undiluted fury quite as strongly, by the by. I believe Sprite is a common favorite, and mixed drinks, while often vilified, are a tried-and-true staple of all gastronomy.

    What you have to remember is that what you're drinking there is, in a way, liquid bread with a built-in brain-disabler, if rarely described that way in polite company. Experiment until you have one that you like, and be open about your doing so. That will generally get you recommendations from more experienced drinkers, which can yield rather surprisingly satisfying results, might jump-start conversations in quite unexpected ways, and if you find that you're just not a beer person, you can just drop the habit and have other things instead - I'd be quite surprised if there would be any trouble to come from that.

    Hope this helps a little, and if there's still questions open, just let me know.
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    Default Re: Social Drinking

    You're most welcome, und zum Wohl, my man.

    As a side-note, I edited it for some minor things, just in case. Mostly, typos, though. Should anything else come up, feel free to ask, there's more where that came from, and I'm always happy to ramble about the sauce.

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    Quote Originally Posted by noparlpf View Post
    I've tried several different sorts, just tasting. My grandfather drinks one beer every evening with dinner. The only one he's had that I thought was palatable was an Indian one we had out one night.
    I'd really suggest a Fruit Lambic for you then. You can find them in a lot of super markets, I know Krogers, Giant Eagle and...I forget the other major super market chain out that way sells them. Look for Lindemans, depending on what fruit you like they have Sour Cherry, Raspberry (my personal favorite of them), Blackcurrent, Apple and Peach. I've only tried the Raspberry and Apple myself. I found the Apple to be a bit on the Sparkling Grape juice side of things but it wasn't at all unpleasent. The Raspberry really is just divine though.
    Last edited by Tebryn; 2012-09-26 at 09:49 PM.

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    Default Re: Social Drinking

    Just so it's clear, it's not rude to avoid drinking in a social setting, nor is it rude to drink less than others. Alcohol tolerance is a personal thing.

    If you want to get a taste for beer and try various ones, that's cool, but you should never feel pressured to get drunk.
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    Nothing at all wrong with drinking one drink the whole evening/occasion. Also nothing wrong with having no alcoholic drink whatsoever. I hardly ever have more than one (alcoholic) drink at a time or even in a day, because while I do very much enjoy how they taste, I very much do not enjoy feeling even a bit 'buzzed' and cannot stand being more affected than that. People often tell me I'm weird because of that, but mostly in a curious/joking around sort of fashion, and it's never been a problem. If people offer me more, I just say I'd rather not and that's that.

    It's ultimately a matter of taste on how people think beer tastes good, of course. I like it (well, I like good beers, if that needs to be said), but I know some people including some relatives who dislike it fairly strongly. I like coffee also. And I don't understand why so many people like soda - I can hardly stand the stuff, especially the aftertaste to it!

    I'm not sure about the acquired taste thing, although I suppose for some people it could be. I liked both beer and coffee the first time I had them, and I can't recall any time I thought something was awful to begin with and ended up liking it later on.

    Come to think of it, unless you are going to a bar and perhaps even then (I don't go to bars much), I wouldn't think it would be seen as that odd if you had something entirely non-alcoholic that you prefer. I believe such establishments usually have non-alcoholic options for just that reason. Unless the whole point of the social occasion is to consume alcoholic beverages (I suppose those do happen occasionally though I avoid them with only slightly less fervour than the plague), I can't imagine it being all that odd if you don't choose to drink but do participate in other ways.

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    Default Re: Social Drinking

    Eh, when I'm out I either don't drink or I have one drink, usually a martini. No beer because I have no interest on that end of things. I don't think anybody's ever thought me rude for my habits when out.
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    Quote Originally Posted by noparlpf View Post
    I've tried several different sorts, just tasting. My grandfather drinks one beer every evening with dinner. The only one he's had that I thought was palatable was an Indian one we had out one night.
    There are a lot of very good IPAs (India Pale Ales) out there if that's the sort of thing you think you might like. They're generally quite hoppy, which is not a taste I can get behind so much personally, but there are certainly lots of people who do.

    As others have said, I would absolutely stay away from popular cheap lagers (anything you see tv ads for, or that comes in a case of > 6). They're just bad; they're hardly even beer, and there's no justification for them at all in my opinion. If you feel like experimenting, Blue Moon is an inexpensive, lightish wheat beer you can get out that way that I think is a very nice "starter beer" (put a slice of orange in your glass/bottle for added deliciousness).

    And to clarify (or I guess reiterate), you should never feel pressured to drink. It's not rude not to drink, or to drink very slowly (as others mentioned, drinking slowly to appraise a beer will likely get people interested because they'll want to give you recommendations, not because you've offended them).
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    I have a couple of suggestions:

    1) Milwaukee's Best: Simply by its name, you know it is good. This beer combines choice ingredients with a crisp finish. After all, it isn't Milwaukee's Worst.

    2) Natural Light: This beer is organic--at least its name suggests that it is organic. It has a nice metallic taste and as a light beer, it isn't filling.

    3) Coors Light: The famous silver bullet. It has a rich, complex favor and is quite heavy. It is made in the Rocky Mountains as you can tell from the can. It also has fancy color-coded technology that will tell you the optimal temperature for drinking this fine brew.

    4) Budweiser: The king of beers. All other beers pay it tribute (seriously, they do). Fun fact: Budweiser is so upscale that is uses an exotic grain, rice, in its brewing process. Budweiser is famous for its complex hops which lend a spicy aftertaste.

    5) Labatt's Blue: An import from the exotic and mysterous nation of Canada. Contrary to its name, Labatt's Blue is not, in fact, blue--actually, it is more of a yellow. However, drinking it won't make you blue either. Labatt's represents the best aspects of Canada--hockey, ballet, Tim Horton's, the good side of Niagara Falls, and hockey--in a twelve ounce can.

    Now that's you've learned about North America's finest brews, you too can be a beer expert.

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    Quote Originally Posted by snoopy13a View Post
    I have a couple of suggestions:

    1) Milwaukee's Best: Simply by its name, you know it is good. This beer combines choice ingredients with a crisp finish. After all, it isn't Milwaukee's Worst.

    2) Natural Light: This beer is organic--at least its name suggests that it is organic. It has a nice metallic taste and as a light beer, it isn't filling.

    3) Coors Light: The famous silver bullet. It has a rich, complex favor and is quite heavy. It is made in the Rocky Mountains as you can tell from the can. It also has fancy color-coded technology that will tell you the optimal temperature for drinking this fine brew.

    4) Budweiser: The king of beers. All other beers pay it tribute (seriously, they do). Fun fact: Budweiser is so upscale that is uses an exotic grain, rice, in its brewing process. Budweiser is famous for its complex hops which lend a spicy aftertaste.

    5) Labatt's Blue: An import from the exotic and mysterous nation of Canada. Contrary to its name, Labatt's Blue is not, in fact, blue--actually, it is more of a yellow. However, drinking it won't make you blue either. Labatt's represents the best aspects of Canada--hockey, ballet, Tim Horton's, the good side of Niagara Falls, and hockey--in a twelve ounce can.

    Now that's you've learned about North America's finest brews, you too can be a beer expert.
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    Quote Originally Posted by snoopy13a View Post
    Now that's you've learned about North America's finest brews, you too can be a beer expert.
    You've made the critical error of forgetting about the Pabst the beer that is the one thing hipsters love unironically.
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    Quote Originally Posted by noparlpf View Post
    First, what's even up with beer? I don't get how people think it tastes good. Or is it just cheap? (I'm in the US, on Long Island right now.)
    Well there's your problem! American beer is awful!
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    If you go to a brew pub, you can probably get some sample portions of different beers.
    As others have mentioned, different beers taste very different, but it's very possible you'll find something you like. And if not, well, no one is forcing you to drink the stuff.
    Personally, I find the less sweet taste of beer compared to, say, coolers and many mixed drinks prevents me from chugging them. Which, in my opinion, is a good thing. It's way, way, too easy to just drink Mike's Hard Lemonade or Vex like it's the (bad) pop they taste like, and given that they are 7% alcohol, (more than most beers) that's a bad, bad idea.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coidzor View Post
    You've made the critical error of forgetting about the Pabst the beer that is the one thing hipsters love unironically.
    I've never actually had Pabst, which is why it didn't make my list.

    I do drink Labatt's Blue Light often though. I don't always want complex, hoppy beers. It depends on the situation and how I'm feeling.

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    Nursing a beer is bad idea because it will most certainly warm up and nothing is worse than warm beer... no, not even that, having said that you if you can keep your beer cold throughout the social gathering, I don't see a problem in only having one. (Well I do; but I like beer a lot )

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    I'll add that if you don't want to drink at all, it's also perfectly fine in most occasions to just order a Coke and nurse that. Just to keep your mouth/hands busy when others are drinking.

    Beer is... interesting. I actually went in the opposite direction, in that the first beers I liked and could stand were Guinness and Tuborg, some of the darker stouts. Lagers I found too watered down and too strong at the same time. Now, it's completely reversed - I try to avoid Guinness whenever possible (yes, even to the point of not drinking at all if no other options are available). In general, if you do want to get into beer, but don't know where to start, just go to a liquor store, but individual bottles of a dozen or so imports and start there. Once my friend and I bought something like 40 different bottles/cans and tried them all over a weekend... definitely one of the more fun experiences I've had.

    Now, I'm not an expert as some people probably are, but most beers fall into the following categories:

    Lager
    Your run of the mill light beer. Most of the cheap stuff are lagers (or pale ales). But there's also good ones. Good places to start are Heineken and Stella Artois - if you don't like those, chances are you won't like lagers in general. Has a little bit of a tangy zest.

    Brown Ale
    A darker type of beer (I'm sure there's lots of little differences beer experts will know, but unfortunately I don't). Unlike a lager, they don't have that tangy zest, and are heavier and more bitter. Wouldn't start with them, they're more of an acquired taste. A good ones to try is Samuel Adams Boston Ale.

    Pale Ale/India Pale Ale
    A lot of cheap beers are also this. A little darker and a lot more bitter than a lager, usually has a stronger taste and more alcohol content, but are the same density. Definitely the hardest one for a brewer to get right - most non-established IPA's utterly suck and taste like watered down tree bark. Is probably the most bitter out of light beers since lots of hops are added. The only one I can think of that's good is Samuel Adams Pale Ale, but it's not a type I generally drink.

    Stout
    Guinness, Tuborg, or any other dark, heavy, dense, strong-tasting, usually bitter beer. Have a lot of crema and often feel like you're drinking a bitter milkshake. An acquired taste for most people, but can be a good place to start as they are the ones that least taste like beer. A fun one to try is Hobgoblin, if only for fantasy overtones and Harry Potter-esque bottle. It's a bit more bitter and somewhat less smooth than Guinness.

    Honey Lager & Honey Brown
    An interesting variation on in that they're exactly what the names suggest: sweet versions of lagers and brown ales. Brewed with honey and nuts, they also tend to smell really nice. Sleemann's Honey Brown and Newcastle are best known (and tasting) examples of honey browns. Don't know any good non-microbrew honey lagers.

    Ale
    Somewhere inbetween a pale ale and a stout. Technically, pale ale is a lighter version of this.

    Weissbier
    Aka white (or wheat) beer. Made from wheat malts, with very little barley. Comes in two varieties: filtered (kristallweizen) and unfiltered (hefeweizen), unfiltered contains some yeast and is a lot denser than filtered. The two have a similar baseline taste, but unfiltered also adds a strong yeast aftertaste reminiscent of raw dough. Is probably the only beer type without any significant bitterness, and the large amount of malts makes it a little sweet. Worth trying at least once, preferably a German import, all the North American ones I've ever tasted are watered down and honestly even more like pee than Bud Light. Highly recommend Konig Ludwig and Schneiderweisse, the first one is my overall favourite beer.

    Blonde
    In theory, a sweeter form of an IPA. In practice, is something inbetween a weiss and a brown ale. A sweet, moderately light and moderately bitter beer that tastes suspiciously like a filtered weiss with added bitterness. Quite a few variations on the basic theme: high sweetness/high bitterness (Tripel Karameliet), this type is really really sweet, as if someone dumped a few spoons of honey in the glass; high sweetness/low bitterness (Duvel); medium sweetness/low bitterness (Hoegaarden); and finally, medium sweetness/medium bitterness (Leffe). Leffe or Duvel are usually good places to start. All blondes come from Belgium (where they hang out near windmills and make cheese while wearing milkmaid outfits) or rarely Netherlands.

    In summary, I drink beer almost exclusively for the taste (if I want to get smashed, I just buy a mickey of rum and go to town), so I don't mind paying a bit more for nice imports. Some of these, like Duvel and Tripel Karameliet are almost triple the cost of cheap American lagers, 2x if you factor in alcohol content. That said, if you do try lots of random imports and like even a few of them, it'll be worth it in the long run. Also helps to impress tomboy/ladette type girls that like beer .
    Last edited by Don Julio Anejo; 2012-09-26 at 11:29 PM.
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  24. - Top - End - #24
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    Default Re: Social Drinking

    Quote Originally Posted by noparlpf View Post
    First, what's even up with beer? I don't get how people think it tastes good. Or is it just cheap? (I'm in the US, on Long Island right now.)
    Anyway, is it a bad idea to take one beer in a social situation, and just sip it, so as to not seem like the odd man out? I don't exactly know how to handle social situations in which alcohol appears and want to know for next time.
    At first, beer in general doesn't taste all that great. After a while you get past the initial different-ness of beer and begin to get into a stage where you can compare them objectively to one another. From here it's sort of a personal exploration to find a brand(s) you like. Try out what interests you and be open to recommendations from others on what to try if you haven't had them already. Over the years you develop a bit of a palette of your own. Everyone is different and there is no universally accepted best beer.

    Alcohol at social functions is usually there to relax people and get them talking to one another more. It's often a social lubricant. Nursing a beer is fine. Not choosing to drink at all is also fine. Some do not like beer. And others find alcohol they like more than beer. I think beer is often chosen for a beverage of adult social situations because it appeals to the widest number of people. Whether or not those people will like your taste in beer is another matter.

    Which brings me to...

    Obvious Beer Etiquette

    If you drink and are offered a beer in a social situations it's okay to:
    • Inquire about what kinds are available and choose one
    • Pass on beer and ask what non-alcoholic drinks are available
    • Bring your own to share with the group
    • Compliment the host on their beer choice, if you enjoy it

    Avoid:
    • Inquiring about what kinds are available and then pass on drinking the beer. The reason for this, obviously, is that this may be interpreted as a put down of the host's taste in beer - you might have had a beer... just not that beer.
    • Passing on beer and declaring that one shouldn't drink. Again, this is to avoid this looking like a put down to your host. If you don't drink, fine. That's your choice. But remember: If you're going to preach tee-totaling to drunk people, you're going to have a bad time. If others give you a hard time for passing on alcohol, deflect comments in an unconcerned manner and the moment will likely pass quickly if you are in pleasant company. Thanking the host for offering is always seen as considerate, drinking or no drinking. Even if you are against drinking the host was trying to share something of theirs with you, after all.
    • Bringing your own and not offering to share. Not that you have to supply enough for the uh "whole class" or what have you, but being free with what you have is usually something others appreciate.
    • Insulting the host's choice of beer, if you didn't enjoy it. Switching labels because you are curious to sample another available label is often a nice universally acceptable reason to switch. Beer drinkers usually understand the need to browse.

  25. - Top - End - #25
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    Default Re: Social Drinking

    Quote Originally Posted by snoopy13a View Post
    I have a couple of suggestions:

    1) Milwaukee's Best: Simply by its name, you know it is good. This beer combines choice ingredients with a crisp finish. After all, it isn't Milwaukee's Worst.

    2) Natural Light: This beer is organic--at least its name suggests that it is organic. It has a nice metallic taste and as a light beer, it isn't filling.

    3) Coors Light: The famous silver bullet. It has a rich, complex favor and is quite heavy. It is made in the Rocky Mountains as you can tell from the can. It also has fancy color-coded technology that will tell you the optimal temperature for drinking this fine brew.

    4) Budweiser: The king of beers. All other beers pay it tribute (seriously, they do). Fun fact: Budweiser is so upscale that is uses an exotic grain, rice, in its brewing process. Budweiser is famous for its complex hops which lend a spicy aftertaste.

    5) Labatt's Blue: An import from the exotic and mysterous nation of Canada. Contrary to its name, Labatt's Blue is not, in fact, blue--actually, it is more of a yellow. However, drinking it won't make you blue either. Labatt's represents the best aspects of Canada--hockey, ballet, Tim Horton's, the good side of Niagara Falls, and hockey--in a twelve ounce can.

    Now that's you've learned about North America's finest brews, you too can be a beer expert.
    This made me laugh harder than I should have.

    Beer's definitely an acquired taste, and I can't really see a scenario where you'd be judged for nursing a single beer all evening … although it would likely get warm. Showing my unrefined American palate here, because warm beer makes me gag.

    And my friends are mentally ill and think it's a great idea to chug a boot of Bud Lite. I'm personally pretty picky about what I drink, so even watching them do this grosses me out. I mostly prefer wine, liquor and mixed drinks on the rare occasion that I do drink, but there are a few beers that I like:

    - Anything from Leinenkugel. Several of them are pretty "non-beery" in flavor, and some of the summer ones taste almost like fruit punch. My favorites are the Berry Weiss, Oktoberfest and Summer Shandy.
    - Dos Equis is okay.
    - As is Killian's Irish Red.
    - Every now and again a Russian Imperial stout. So named, I assume, because it leaves you feeling like you've eaten an entire bag of potatoes and been clubbed in the head by a Russian Mafia mook.
    - I've had a lot of really good craft beers, although I can't remember any names off the top of my head.
    - Coors is pretty awful, but I do like the color-changing can.

    And I'm not a beer snob at all, but I'd recommend avoiding:
    - Corona
    - Budweiser
    - Busch
    - Miller
    - Pabst
    - Natty Lite
    Last edited by Inglenook; 2012-09-26 at 11:15 PM.

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    Default Re: Social Drinking

    Everyone else has pretty much said what needs to be said, so I'll just add one bit. In the states, beer is traditionally served cold. The colder the better. Many of us feel that warm beer tastes awful. Many of us are wrong. American lagers do taste awful if they're warm. In England, however (maybe elsewhere also, I've never been to Europe), beers are more commonly served cool or room temperature, so those beers tend to taste better warm. They're often packaged for export to the US and sold as "pub ale". Boddington's, in my experience, is the one most commonly available on draught at bars, but most decent bars will have something either in bottle or on tap. Maybe take a look at some brands of pub ale to look out for. Newcastle brown ale is also English, fairly common, and doesn't taste too bad warm although it's better cold. A good pub ale actually tastes better cool or at room temperature, to me anyhow.
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    Default Re: Social Drinking

    The east coast is a little...behind...on the microbrewing culture. You can't really blame them, all stuffy and fuddy duddy and whatnot. Washington and Oregon, on the other hand (and to a lesser degree, California), that is where true microbrew joy is found. In fact, 1/5 breweries in the US lie in one of those two states. Bliss is a handcrafted IPA or porter from a place that brews by the barrel, rather than in huge batches.

    And to the people putting down IPAs...try Ninkasi's Total Domination (Eugene), Hair of the Dog's Blue Dot (Portland), or Russian River Brewing Co's Pliny the Elder (Santa Rosa). The latter is probably one of the most decorated beers in the US. Delicious!

    Bitterer is betterer!

    EDIT: As far as drinking pressure, I think it is safe to say that in the US, drinking and driving is highly highly highly discouraged. Just say you have to drive. Even if you don't have a car. Most people won't give it a second thought, and those who know you well enough won't care.
    Last edited by Keld Denar; 2012-09-27 at 01:16 AM.
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  28. - Top - End - #28
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    Default Re: Social Drinking

    Quote Originally Posted by noparlpf View Post
    Anyway, is it a bad idea to take one beer in a social situation, and just sip it, so as to not seem like the odd man out? I don't exactly know how to handle social situations in which alcohol appears and want to know for next time.
    Most people really won't care if you pass on the beer entirely. It's fine, and it works out better for everyone involved if someone who likes it ends up drinking it instead. If people do have an issue, then you're probably at some sort of sketchy party that you'd be better off leaving in any case.
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    Default Re: Social Drinking

    I agree with there being no issue with not drinking in a social situation and if there are any idiots who pressurise you, just claim you're driving later.

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    Default Re: Social Drinking

    Don't feel like you're required to drink at a social gathering that features alcohol. It's not rude if you decline.
    If you want to like beer, I suggest you start with something fruity, like a red or wheat brewed with fruit. I've had a delightful wheat beer brewed with peaches that was tasty and didn't have the liquid-bread taste.

    If you don't like beer, then it's the perfect thing to nurse throughout an evening and avoid getting drunk. If you drink something you like, you may have another, and then another, and before long you'll regret having friends like these.
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