A Beer Lover’s Guide to Wine
Sipping with Tasting Room Associate, Sam Towns
“Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” Benjamin Franklin supposedly said this. Wise words perhaps, but then again, he flew a kite with a house key dangling off of it during a lightning storm. So, you decide.
We get quite a few beer drinkers into the tasting room (usually dragged along by their spouse who’s a wine drinker). Part of my job is to bridge the gap between beer and wine and introduce, without intimidation, just how wonderful fermented grape juice can be. Admittedly, I indulge in some suds on occasion, but I try not to limit myself to just one style of alcoholic beverage.
Explore the Options
Variety is the spice of life; a generally agreed upon adage. It certainly applies to all things drink. Within the world of wine alone there are some 10,000 distinct grape varieties used. Not to mention, flavors and characteristics vary by region and vintage and farming practices, etc. Plus every winery has a house style, which means two wineries working with grapes from the same vineyard can and will make very different wine every time. So, the chance that a beer lover will find a wine they enjoy seems pretty high.
Did you know: Pigeonholing yourself into drinking exclusively beer is just doing yourself a disservice! There’s a big world out there and you should drink (or at least try) it all!
Find Your Wine Style
When a beer drinker ambles into the tasting room, I ask them what different styles they generally enjoy. Once I know a bit about their beer preferences, I can better suggest wines they might enjoy.
Lighter blonde ales or pilsners
If you like Trumer, for example, I might suggest a white wine, or maybe a blanc de blanc. (The bubbles in sparkling wine are an obvious connection to beer). Like beer, white wines are served chilled and are similarly refreshing. In this case, I might point them towards our Hundred Knot Sauvignon Blanc.
If your go-to is a typical American Lager like Budweiser, with its relatively low alcohol and broad appeal, I would suggest our Malvasia Bianca– one of our Fifth Moon wines that’s low in alcohol and generally revered by all lucky enough to sample it.
Porters, stouts, & high-alcohol double IPAs
If you’re a lover of intense and concentrated flavors, I might point you towards a heavier red like our Cab or Syrah. Higher alcohol and denser, heavier wines are obvious suggestions.
Every so often, a guest will confide in me that they enjoy spicy pumpkin beers. Though I may cringe slightly, I will happily recommend the peppered red berry and brambly fruit flavors of our delectable Hundred Knot Russian River Zinfandel.
Of course, the difficulty in bridging the gap between beer and wine resides in just how disparate the two are. Beer is malty, hoppy, or bready, and generally lower in alcohol. Wine is invariably fruitier , can be perceived as tart or bitter, can also be sweet, and is generally higher in alcohol. So, despite my most valiant efforts, that beer drinker that walked through our tasting room doors quite frequently walks back out, mind unchanged. But, as far as I’m concerned, just experiencing something new and different to consider is a worthwhile adventure for your palate and counts as a win in my book.
It’s easy to stick with what you know, but by never deviating from the norm you’re closing yourself off to new experiences. Be bold! Be adventurous! Don’t give ol’ Ben Franklin too much credit (apparently that quote’s been misattributed to him anyway) and get out there and indulge in a nice glass of wine!