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Become a Beer Convert

Get in the Oktoberfest spirit by swapping your usual drink for one of ØL’s.


Joe Budd

Lewis Woodward is used to hearing folks say, “I don’t like beer,” or “I only drink red wine.” But when it comes to recommending brews to the yet-to-be-converted, the bartender at Walnut Creek’s ØL (pronounced oo-elle) Beercafe & Bottle Shop welcomes the challenge. He’ll ask about a person’s drink preference to food choices to suss out the perfect brews. Try Woodward’s suggested swap to see if you’re a European beer convert. beer-shop.org


For fans of the big-name domestics, ØL will usually have on tap a lager-style beer, which tends to be lighter bodied and cleaner than an ale. But Woodward encourages customers to give Belgian pale ales a shot. “I warn people that Belgian brews will have more intense flavor, but more often than not, they go, ‘Wow, I really like that!’ ”

Delirium Tremens.


“There’s nothing more rewarding than giving a person who likes complex reds a Belgian quad and seeing them realize the complexity in beer.” Quads are heavier, more complex brews with an alcohol content to match. “Wine fans are drinking for flavor and effect, and being able to taste that alcohol makes the comparison more real.”

Trappistes Rochefort 10.


Belgian whites, which tend to be fruity and light bodied, are good gateway suds for non-beer fans. If beer is too filling, Woodward recommends searching for a higher-alcohol brew. “You get the same effect as a cocktail without having to drink three or four.”

Allagash White,
Hoegaarden, Blanche
de Bruxelles.


Saisons generally have a lighter alcohol content, and contain herbal and floral notes that work well for white wine drinkers. Woodward also suggests Belgian Tripels. “Brewers add some sugars to Belgian beers to thin out the body and make them feel more similar to wine.”

Saison Dupont, Chimay Tripel.

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