+1 for Pliney and Racer 5. So good. (Also: I know next to nothing about beer, except that I really like those two.)
I wound up writing a lot about craft beer at the L.A. Times and got caught up at the right time in the local scene with some expert friends, so I’ve tried a reasonable amount but not what the beer-nerds would consider a lot. The most helpful thing has been discovering the styles (“genres,” if you will) I like and then trying every porter, Belgian double, etc., available. So if you like Racer 5, an IPA, you’ll probably like the Stone version and so on.
My unintentional favorite thing about craft beer is that the people who are really into it tend to be large, nerdy guys with ponytails who either used to or still regularly play “Dungeons and Dragons” and do computer programming for a living. (I used to play “Magic: The Gathering” and do not have a ponytail.)