Buying beer? You can do better

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[NOTE: THIS COLUMN IS MISSING A CHART]

Flavor, shmavor – when it comes to choosing a beer for the weekend, nine times out of 10 it’s either advertising or price that makes up your mind.

You spend a few minutes traipsing around the distributor, eyeballing the dozens of cartons and scratching your head over the puzzling names. Brown ale, Irish ale, old ale, Flemish ale, red ale, golden ale, pale ale, India pale ale. . .unless you’ve devoted a significant part of your life to sampling the daunting range of brewing styles, you’re lost, boss.

Your head spins, you feel for your wallet, and you go for something safe – that $14.99 special on a 30-pack of Coors Light. Even if price is no object, who can resist those Budweiser lizards?

Sure, you’d like to experiment, try something different. But when you’re laying out big bucks, who wants to get stuck with a case of rotgut? Even your brother-in-law won’t drink the stuff.

Always ready with advice, allow me to direct your attention to this first Joe Sixpack Real Guide to Beer.

Unlike other beer style guides written by experts who actually know what they’re talking about, this one is based only on my own tastebuds. I’ve grouped beers not by style, not by alcoholic content or brewing methods, but by how they taste going down.

Maybe you’ll disagree. But if you’re tired of the same ol’ stuff, use this guide to try something better. And if you’ve been wasting your paycheck on pricey brews, maybe you’ll find something cheaper.

But before you dive in, you’ve gotta tell me – what kind of beer drinker are you? There are, of course, just three types:

  1. Homer Simpson: Mmmmm . . . beer. Cheap beer.
  2. Ralph Nader: After careful review by an impartial consumer panel, these ales and lagers scored highest when subjected to rigorous testing in our price/quality coefficient analysis.
  3. Bill Gates: Money is no object.

Joe Sixpack (written this week with Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale) appears every other Friday.

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