Sara's Beer Flight
1st: Fox Barrel Pear Cider: a great crisp clean taste like a D'Anjou pear, similar to a Reisling wine, only a beer.
2nd: Crispin Cider Desert Noir: Another cider ale with sweet prickly pear and agave flavors, a little woodiness from the oak barrel aging.
3rd: Anderson Valley Summer Solstice: Like a not-too-sweet cream soda in your nut brown ale.
4th: North Coast Brother Thelonious: A perfect dark belgian-style abbey ale. Dark and rich, not heavy.
After sipping a quality microbrew, it's hard to pick up a Miller Lite again. When Sugar Maple, a craft beer mecca, opened near our house a few years ago, I rejoiced. Sixty taps of revolving hard-to-find microbrews line the bar. So, if you don't recognize the breweries or the brewing styles, the best way to tackle the taps it to order a beer flight, similar to a wine flight. You pick any four 6 oz beers from their menu and start tasting. I usually try to order from lightest to darkest or sweet to bitter - the bartenders are really good for suggestions. Some microbrews are really strong, smoky, or spicy, or so bitter you spit it out, so getting the smaller sample size is a safer bet then laying your finger down and hoping it lands on something good.
If you don't have a Sugar Maple type of bar nearby or a bar that offers beer flights, some stores offer single bottles of microbrew or table bottles. With a group of friends, or dinner party, make your own beer flights and see what everyone likes.
P.S. You know I like my cheese, but cheese pairs beautifully with beer.