Kellan Bartosch over at CraftBeer.com has a great article for the novice beer drinker on why styles are important and how to start thinking about them to extract Maximum Liquid Pleasuretimes(tm) from your bubbly libations.
I can’t recommend this article enough. The guy very simply and eloquently states the importance of understanding styles and expanding your drinking vocabulary. He simultaneously manages to humorously slide in references to A Quest for Glory, Star Wars, and even gets in a sly dig at Guy Fieri.
Money quote is money:
Craft beer styles instantly arm us with information and descriptors that allow us to make informed decisions in a seemingly endless world of beer options.
That’s it exactly. When you say you want something “light”, are you talking about the color, the mouthfeel, or the amount of alcohol? With a decent working knowledge of styles you can tell someone almost exactly what you mean. That way you end up with that perfect pale ale instead of a cloyingly sweet wheat beer.
Another quote of absolute truth:
The Soup Nazi character on Seinfeld could barely stand the presence of ignorant customers. Don’t be that guy when it comes to craft beer!
Seriously, folks. If someone says they like (or don’t like) a style or brand of beer, that’s really ok. They definitely know more about their own tongue than you do…or one would hope.