As a beginner in B+W (i.e. got my first non point and shoot in june and haveonly shot 2 B+W films so far with it) I have no idea which films have what characteristics, except of course that faster means grainier. My two films so far have been a Jessops Pan 100s (I didn't want to waste a good film on my first go) and an Ilford FP4 Plus. Since my subject matters are different on each film and the FP4 unfortunately got printed at the shop on high gloss I haven't even got anything I can use as comparison. Currently I'm putting an Ilford Pan 100 through.
When I get back to university this autumn, I'll be able to start printing my own stuff; I don't however want to waste too much time figuring out which type of film I like best.
ISO 100 will probably be my standard fare but since I don't have fast lenses or access to a tripod all the time I'll have to use 400 sometimes. When I do have a tripod to hand I'll use 50 possibly.
P.S. I got pleasing results on both, but I have no idea if they would have been better on the other film type.