Rach never thought of herself as a beer person, as she grew up with wine in the house and not beer.
But our buddy Anne Becerra, NYC's first certified female cicerone (a.k.a. beer expert) and beer director at Treadwell Park in the city, was determined to expand Rach's palate -- just in time for Oktoberfest and the holidays!
Now, Germany has a super strict purity law, Anne tells us, which says that all beer can be made only with the following four ingredients: hops, malt, yeast, and water.
But with just those four ingredients and no additives, spices or flavorings, they still manage to produce tons of incredible beers with a rainbow of flavors, she says.
Anne believes that there’s a beer out there for absolutely everybody, so take your pick from the four that Rach tried:
If you like: Fruity flavors, like those in bananas, apples and cloves
You may have seen this light, foamy beer served with a slice of orange or lemon (although Anne advises against that, because the citric acid can interfere with the drink). “If you like fruity flavors, like banana, apple and clove,” Anne recommends trying a Hefeweizen like Andechser Weissbier Hell.
It’s an unfiltered wheat beer style that translates to yeast wheat and pairs well with all kinds of food.
Pro tip: You want to pour this one in a very specific way to get that big foamy head because that’s going to lift the aromas to your nose which is how we taste! Place the glass over the beer, then flip, and slowly pour it out at an angle. Once you get to the end, swirl the bottle and then pour all the foam (head) on top! See Rach pour it in the video above.
If you like: Tart flavors, like those in lemonade and Granny Smith apples
Try: Berliner Weisse
If you like tart flavors like lemonade and granny smith apples, try a Berliner Weisse like Professor Fritz Briem 1809, advises Anne. This style is dry and citrusy, and Napoleon called it “the Champagne of the North.”
If you like: Toffee, caramel and molasses flavors
This style of beer has an interesting history: it was created by monks during Lent when they had to fast. So, because they couldn’t eat bread, says Anne, they made a beer that was super bread-like (its nickname is “liquid bread!”), because it was brewed with extra-malted grain for sustenance. If this seems up your alley, try a Doppelbock like Ayinger Celebrator.
It’s got flavors of toffee, caramel and molasses, and Anne loves to serve it at Thanksgiving because, she tells us, it pairs really well with everything from roast meats to greens.
"Oh wow," said Rach after trying it "you chew that!"
If you like: Smoky flavors, like those in BACON
This one tastes like...bacon?! “Rauch” means smoked, and this beer is literally smoked!
They smoke the malt over a fire, Anne tells us.“It tastes like a campfire," she says. She also calls it elegant and caramelized and loves to serve this one during brunch with bacon and eggs. Yum! If this savory variety sounds appealing, go for something like Aecht Schlenkerla Marzen.
Wondering where to pick up these master recommendations?
According to Anne, as people are getting more and more into craft beers, a lot of grocery stores are expanding their beer selections, but if yours isn’t there yet, you should be able to find these at your local liquor store or even wine warehouse.
The important thing is that you don’t have to know everything! Just tell the person in the store or the bar what flavors you like (sour, sweet, citrusy, caramel, etc.) and they’ll be able to help you find your new favorite beer!
Cheers! (And, of course, always remember to drink responsibly.)