With the shelves of local grocery and party stores flooded with local, regional and national micro-brews, where do you start?

Today's offerings far outweigh those of our grandfathers. We don't have catchy phrases or cartoon super-heroes to help us decide. The budgets are smaller and folks are more worried about the overall contents and ingredients. It's far more that barely, hops and water. Reinheitsgebot, the original German Purity Law, only allowed beer to have those three ingredients. What fun is that? ANYTHING can be put into beer! So how do we know what we like?

It's simple. First, you decide what you are thirsty for. Do you want something with a bitterness to it? IPA's (India Pale Ale) have a bitterness to them from the larger amount or different types of hops that are used. Double and Triple IPA's really have a bite!

If your looking for something with some smoke, you might want to try a porter, Not too heavy or bitter, the porter style can give you a little more roasted malt flavor or even some chocolaty notes. If you decide to go all out, try a stout or an imperial stout. The thicker, darker look will also have a similar consistency. Almost creamy, this is my favorite style of beer. A true winter beer that is sometimes aged in bourbon barrels to bring out the oak like flavor and really jump the ABV (Alcohol By Volume) percentage.Some of the IPA's can also carry a hefty ABV, so make sure to check it before you go all out on a new style.

Many brewpubs and bars that serve craft beer allow some sampling. This is a great way to try new beers without spending a hefty sum on a pint that you won't like. You can also watch your favorite establishment for "brewery nights." Some brewery's will do a "tap takeover" which gives you an opportunity to sample beers from one particular brewery.

Now that I have your attention, make sure to get your tickets for Lansing On Tap! Details are right here at WMMQ.com