First Beer Experiences – Adrian Tierney-Jones

Adrian Tierney-Jones is the British Guild of Beer Writers Beer Writer of the Year 2017. Adrian is an award-winning freelance journalist whose work appears in the Daily Telegraph, Beer, Original Gravity (of which he is also editor), Sunday Times Travel Magazine, Imbibe and many other titles. He has been writing books on beer since 2002 – his latest is The Seven Moods of Craft Beer.

Adrian is editor of both editions of 1001 Beers To Try Before You Die and contributor to The Oxford Companion to Beer, World Beer, 1001 Restaurants You Must Experience Before You Die and the Italian Slow Food guide to beer. Chair of Judges at the World Beer Awards, Adrian is also a judge at various other competitions across the known world. He's an expert taster and talker on the world of beer and if you don't already follow him you should – @ATJbeer.

When did you have your first taste of beer?

Must have been about 10, Mackeson’s, sip from a glass during Sunday lunch at my paternal grandmother’s, probably made a face but her excellent Yorkshires made up for it, but in a pub, just before 16, Greenhall Whitney Bitter. Foul. 

What was your impression of beer before then?

What grownups drank, the smell of pubs was quite beguiling, always used to love the smell when passing them, the mystery of adult spaces.  

What was your reaction to that first sip?

The Greenhall Whitney was awful, but to be honest I was so nervous and excited at being underage in a pub, a place where I had been longing to get into since I got into my first X film at 13 (the pleasures of growing up), that I didn’t really notice the beer; there then followed an existential crisis with beer that went through college and beyond. I do remember enjoying Jenlain in Paris when I lived there, writing fourth rate poetry. 

How have your thoughts about beer changed since then?

I used to drink anything, but a mixture of good cask, Czech and German lager changed my mind in my mid 20s, then I discovered Duvel and various Belgian beers visiting a mate, then there were Weissbiers and it just continues. 

What beer would you recommend to someone who wants to try it for the first time, and why?

I would suggest Schneider Weiss’s Bavarian wheat beer, it has a moussec like carbonation, a fruity, spicy character, a bubbly presence on the tongue and a dry finish, gorgeous.

Mike Hampshire