First Beer Experiences – Lotte Peplow

Lotte works for the Brewers Association, the not-for-profit trade group for small and independent American craft breweries, helping to educate and inform beer lovers about the quality, diversity and innovation of American craft beer.

She looks after the Brewers Association’s presence in the UK and parts of Europe overseeing events such as Craft Beer Rising, Great British Beer Festival and travelling to Paris/Dublin for beer events. She also writes about beer, judges beer, undertakes PR, liaises with importers and is on a mission to encourage more people to drink more beer styles on more occasions. A beer lover first and foremost, Lotte is also an accredited Beer Sommelier.

Follow her @LottePeplow.

When did you have your first taste of beer? 

I would have been in my teenage years, I can’t remember exactly when, probably at home with my boozing parents who thought nothing of under-age drinking!

What was your first impression of beer before then?

Beer was always a ‘dad’ drink, something to be quaffed at parties by men, never drunk by women and never with food or at the dinner table. It was cheap and basic with little taste and no sophistication.

What was your reaction to that first sip?

One day, my dad came home from the ‘Offie’, as it was known, with a tin of Watney’s Party Seven. Anyone of an age will well remember this party favourite, but to the unenlightened this was a minikeg of draught bitter holding seven pints of fizzy, watery Watney’s beer. It was absolutely rank. I distinctly remember thinking it tasted like dishwater and my initial reaction was ‘yuk’ followed swiftly by an exit to the bathroom to spit it out!

How have your thoughts about beer changed since then?

Thankfully, nowadays beer is a million miles away from my first encounter with Watney’s, I’m glad to say. It’s a craft now with a huge spectrum of styles, flavours, ingredients, brewing techniques, amazing packaging designs, iconic brewing figures and a passion that transcends age, race and gender. There’s never been a better time to be a beer lover! 

What beer would you recommend to someone who wanted to try it for the first time?

I love a big, juicy West coast IPA laden with tropical fruit flavours and bags of attitude but this style can be challenging for a first timer unused to the slap-you-in-the-face hop punch these beers deliver, so I would suggest a pale ale of about 4.5-5% with floral, fruity, maybe pine like flavour notes that’s well-balanced, drinkable and not too bitter.

Mike Hampshire