Old thread, but what the hey, I'm bored so this is my necro for the night.
I do not see the reason for a beginning guitar player to use a barre to play the A chord.
Yes, I know it's a barre chord later on (but so are E and C and D and G), and you can do 'tricks' on the chord, but seriously, what is a beginner most concerned about? My experience is they want to play some songs, and do that they need to be able to make smooth chord changes while keeping a steady strumming pattern going.
My advice: Finger the A chord with 3 fingers - index finger on the 2nd (B) string, ring finger on the 3rd (G) string, and middle finger on the 4th (D) string. The fingering may feel strange at first, but once you start making the chord changes you'll understand the reasoning behind it.
Later on you can learn to play it as a barre with either your index or ring finger (or both).