“I quite like it when someone tells me they’re not keen on beer,” says Andrew Ranum, general manager of Deep Creek Brews & Eats. “It’s like ‘Challenge Accepted!'”

The Deep Creek brewbar usually has 16 different beers on tap, and Andrew enjoys guiding customers to the ones that really suit their taste buds. In the first instance, this might involve explaining a few facts and busting a few myths. In simple terms, beer falls into two categories: lager and ale. Lager isn’t necessarily light and fizzy, and ale isn’t necessarily dark and bitter. “Just because someone doesn’t enjoy Guinness, doesn’t mean they’ll dislike all dark beers,” Andrew observes. Pale lager probably accounts for 90% of the world’s beer consumption. It’s made to be refreshing and easy-drinking. Ale on the other hand is designed to be savoured rather than downed. It has a bit more flavour and a bit more character, which may prompt comments and conversation amongst its drinkers.

“The rise of micro-breweries and craft beer has given opportunities to people who aren’t bound by cost or convention,” comments Andrew. “There’s more experimentation with different ingredients, such as throwing things like chilli, liquorice, raspberries or coconut into the mix.” Sour beer may appeal to cider drinkers, who are accustomed to a dry finish. “It’s essentially made with the addition of yogurt culture. That produces extra acidity which can then be balanced out with some fruit, like peach or berries.”

Every month, Andrew holds a Beer Appreciation evening, allowing punters to experience some different flavours and styles, and match these with the appropriate food too. When trying a new beer, he recommends The 3 Sip Rule, which often runs as follows:

Sip 1: “Oh no, I don’t like that.”
Sip 2: “Hmm, it tastes a bit different.”
Sip 3: “Oh yes, that’s quite nice, isn’t it.”

More information about the Deep Creek’s next Beer Appreciation evening can be found at deepcreekbrewbar.co.nz.

A very quick guide to common ale types:

Pale Ale: A lighter body, fruity.

IPA: India Pale Ale. A few more hops, a bit more alcohol, sweeter and fuller bodied.

Double IPA: Imperial India Pale Ale. More hops, more alcohol. Big in flavour and body.

APA: American Pale Ale. Exclusively American hops, often with pine or citrus (grapefruit) overtones.

Stout/ Porter: Darker styles with rich coffee, dark chocolate, toasty flavours.

(First published and permission to post by ShoreLines Magazine)