One of the things we’re most passionate about is introducing people to the amazing world of craft beer, usually in our stores or through our tastings, but of course it’s always a great feeling when you introduce a new beer to your mate and you can see their mind being blown!

With that in mind, we polled some of our social media fans and customers to see how they like to introduce craft beer to their friends, all in the quest to bring you this handy guide. We’ve left it in their own words as we think they pretty much nail it!

Method 1: Force some supermarket craft on them

I recently went for a BBQ with the sort of chap who only sticks to mainstream lagers, Birra Moretti being his recent preference. We had to stop at the local Co-op beforehand to grab some beers and they had a plethora or some of our more popular pale ales, Goose Island, Gamma Ray, Camden Pale etc. I opted for the InBev sell outs and put a dozen cans of Camden Pale in the basket. Later in the evening, once he’d had a few Moretti’s I quite simply just forced one on him and said “give that a go”. Turns out he liked it quite a bit but always assumed it’d be like those old man cask beers you get at old man pubs. A slight convert, but I think proper craft my a step too far for him for now”.

Method 2: Get them to try the beer (d’uh)

“Ultimately, the first thing that got all of us into beer was the fact that it tastes really damn good, and certainly better than your standard macro lager. Whenever I have a beer at home or in a bar that I love, I encourage anyone I’m with to try it. The best person to convince someone of something is an enthusiast, so often I find myself pre-fixing it with “ooh, I really like this one – try it”.

Also, working in a big company, I have done a couple of beer tasting evenings for the various groups within my department at work. I take a few of my favourite beers of my favourite styles and host an evening, giving information with each beer about the style, the brewery, the hops etc. just as you guys at WBB would do. By picking out some of the best beers available at the time, you are showing people just how good the really exceptional beer can be. I also include a wide range of styles so people try something they didn’t know even existed before. I have since found that my colleagues are now more receptive to going to a bar with better beer after work, or will often come and ask me about the beers on tap in a pub.”

Method 3: Start by showing them that lager can be so much more than Foster’s.

To start the evening, and I think this is probably one of the best gateways to introducing someone, I kick off with a good lager (think Donzoko Helles or Lost & Grounded Running with Sceptres), just to highlight how flavoursome lager can be. People have the standard lagers as a common reference point, so showing just how good a ‘simple’ lager can be can open the door to how good beer can be.

Method 4: Take them to a German theme pub!

My dad (in his mid 50’s) will not go near any sort of “ale” at all.For him it’s just your “main stream lagers, that’s all he likes – Fosters, Carlsberg Export etc. Yet I took my dad to Katzenjammers in London Bridge earlier this year and plied him with a couple of maß of German pils and he loved not just the beer but the atmosphere too. I have plans to get him over to Germany and a proper beer hall at some point!

Method 5: Deviate off the beaten track

Not everyone loves ales or bitters and when they say “I don’t like beer” they are most probably thinking of a standard lager or a standard (and probably quite often not well kept) cask bitter. So many people just haven’t ever tried sour beers or low bitterness NEIPAs, and it’s often these fruitier beers that help. My girlfriend for example, doesn’t like heavy IPAs or anything too bitter (“it tastes like bile” is a common refrain), but she likes a sharp, fruity sour as they are completely different: low bitterness, fruity, light and refreshing.

Method 6: Find comparisons

I often try to find comparisons with other drinks that people enjoy. My sister loves sparkling wine, so at Christmas time when I’m cracking open a gueuze or a golden wild ale such as those brewed by Burning Sky or Mills, I get her to try it as there a common characteristics in the spritzy texture, lightness, acidity and, often, actual wine flavour imparted by barrel aging. I love drinking gueuze with cheese, so by doing my own pairing and getting people to try that combination, people get to see the versatility of beer.

Similarly, friends with a sweet tooth or lovers of espresso martinis are often fans of the big imperial stouts with their coffee and chocolate flavours. Some people will try an Omnipollo Noa/Aon and be amazed that beer could ever taste like that.

Method 7: Force them into good bars

I am fortunate enough to live a minute or so from Druid Street and Enid Street in Bermondsey, so a lot of London’s best places to drink craft beer are on my doorstep. Purely by suggesting (/forcing) my friends to go for drinks in Bermondsey, they are almost forced into drinking good craft. The thing with the Bermondsey Beer Mile that these days, is that it is a fun day out for pretty much everyone and the vibe in many of the bars is great fun, and much better than your average London bar/pub. The result is that people have a good time (and that is one of the other main reasons why we drink craft beer!) and remember that the beers were great.

Method 8: Blind Tasting

Blind tasting beers is a great way to strip away pre-conceptions about the beers and let your friends just focus on their senses to guide them. It may not lead to them liking the beers but at least it may stop them shying away from dark beers or looking at ABV before anything else.