First Beer Experiences – Carl Marshall


Carl Marshall is brewer for Twisted Barrel Ale. He is a full-time bunny carer, and a part-time drinker. You can find him on twitter at @ThaBearded1.

When did you have your first taste of beer?

I am going to blame my dad with this, it was from a can he decided to share. Banks bitter if I remember right. I quickly gave it him back and proclaimed, ‘if all beer tastes like that, I am never drinking beer again’. After the laughs faded, the years of drinking alcopops passed. I ventured into the realm of beer again. This time I was hooked on Hobgoblin and Bass; that and the occasional lager. Stella tended to be my 'go to'. That was until I visited Portland, Oregon. My world got turned upside down by Rogue Ales’ Dead Guy Ale.

What was your impression of beer before then?

I enjoyed lager. But cask was a different world. It seemed like you had to have an acquired taste for it. One which would be frowned upon in my group of friends. Beer was there to be enjoyed. We never sat still enough to enjoy it. It was only when I had friends around, it was acceptable to relax with a beer with friends.

What was your reaction to that first sip?

Horrible, I hated it. I hated the taste. The mouthfeel! All the alcohol I had drunk before was sweet. This wasn’t even drinkable. It was only after a few years of drinking lager I decided to try different beers.

How have your thoughts about beer changed since then?

It was steadily changing the more I went out to the pub. It progressed from continually drinking the same lager to trying a rotating line of cask ales. Until I went to America I didn’t realise how much variety beer had. Once I did, I was regularly trying different beers. Trying to find out what hops I enjoyed more, even which styles of beer. I still haven’t really found my favourite. Luckily the beer world is ever evolving and getting bigger. So, it isn’t really much of a problem anymore. I don’t need to stick to the same beer if I don’t have too.

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

Everyone has different taste buds so I wouldn’t recommend one. But I would say try a variety of styles first. Find one that you prefer, be it IPAs, sours or saisons. Then drink a few, try the same styles from different breweries. Speak to people online via social media. Most of all speak to bar staff, they are the people with the knowledge to help you push your taste out to that next level. Enjoy your journey into beer. It really is quite sociable.

Mike Hampshire