Translation:I like beer, but I do not drink it.
From a comment I saw in another section, the article is used when you are speaking in generalities, like "he speaks to women" (él habla a las mujeres) and "beds are white" (las camas son blancas). Here, he doesn't refer to a specific beer, but beer in general. "I like beer" = me gusta la cerveza
I have seen a youtube video that explains you could say "A mí me gusta..." for emphasis. I will have to rely on native speakers to say whether anyone would actually say it that way.
[Instructional video by Sr. Jordan on gustar - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRo55O9Zaic&list=PLEFD56D34AF2AA003&index=10]
Mostly we use "a mi me gusta..." when you are in a group an you are asked.
- ¿A quien le gusta la cerveza?
- A mi me gusta la la cerveza
Here without "a mi" sounds weird.
You use it too when you ask to another person and you give your own answer. Of course the other one it will use as well
- ¿Que te gusta a ti?, a mi me gusta la cerveza
- A mi me gusta también
It happens the same than in the precedent example, without "a mi" is not used, except the second speaker, He can say it without "a mi" but I think that it s less usual.
And of course for emphasis.
Here's a list of 30 of the verbs that operate like gustar: http://www.spanishdict.com/answers/100085/verbs-like-gustar#.Ue385m3AG-c
Answer the question: Who's doing the action? Gustar is not as we normally express liking something in English: "I like X." In Spanish it is "the X pleases me." So it is not "yo" doing something (if it were, you WOULD use "gusto" like you suggest). It is the BEER doing the pleasing -- so that is like a he/she/usted sentence, and the he/she/usted verb is "gusta".
Well, unusual probably wasn't the best way for me to explain, as several other spanish verbs work the same way, what i mean is these verbs work differently to those that most that english speakers learn early on, with format of subject (=person) followed by verb, then object. In verbs like 'gustar' it is indirect-pronoun for the person + verb + the object liked. Here, cerveza is not the subject but the object, and "gusts" doesn't exist in any format for this verb. And yes, 'gusto la cerveza' is rather silly usage.
I've been trying to mentally replace, "I like," with, "it pleases me," in order to try to 'think' in spanish, so I thought I'd try using "it pleases me" for spanish and english. I tried to write "the beer pleases me, but I don't drink it" and I was marked wrong. I assume this is because there is another verb in spanish for "to please" and it isn't gustar, but I was wondering if what I wrote was incorrect, and if my assumption is the reason for why I was marked as having been incorrect.
I wouldn't think of gustar = it pleases me, that's far to literal a definition. A translator would translate "Me gusta cerveza" as "The beer pleases me." The translation of "me gusta" as "it pleases" has more to do with the spanish grammar than what the phrase actually means.
It's kind of like how you expressing age in Spanish is very different from English. "Yo tengo diez anos" literally translated says "I have ten years," but the meaning is "I am 10 years old." Spanish and English just have major differences in what grammar/constructions they use to express age.
What I know about do when used in an affirmative sentence is that it is used for emphasis. In Spanish, if we want to make a more emphatic sentence we add some words as claro, por supuesto..
The answer to your anwser in Spanish would be:
- Claro que/Por supuesto que/Sin duda me gusta la cerveza