I love wine, but I REALLY love beer. To me there is a time and place for both, but to many others, beer is just a boring beverage. I’ve heard many wine drinkers say, “beer just isn’t sophisticated”. Well I have a pretty solid feeling they’re talking about those sort of beers that come in 30-packs. Large macro companies gave a bad rap to beer years ago, but contrary to popular belief, beer is not just that yellow, fizzy stuff you’re imagining. Beer has come a long way since then, and a lot of it is super complex with great depth to it. There is most certainly a beer style for any wine drinker out there who is looking to make the switch, or maybe just expand their palate. So please tilt your nose down, try something new, and keep an open mind. I swear it won’t be bad, and no one is going to judge you. Well, unless you chose to drink a bud-light lime…then yeah, we’re judging you.
For the Pinot Grigio, and Champagne Brut drinkers, I suggest trying a light Lager, Cream Ale,Kölsch, or Pilsner. These beers will be clean, refreshing, crisp and effervescent, and will finish dry. With typical flavors of baked bread, mineral water, fresh flowers, and grain.
For Grüner, Albariño, or Chardonnay drinkers, Hefeweizen’s may be your next best friend with many similarities in texture. They have refreshing notes of apple, banana, and lemon, along with the mouthfeel of vanilla curd. This beer, and these wines also have something else in common – dregs or lees in wine terms. Leaving behind some dead yeast cells in the bottle results in bread-y, doughy and nutty notes. And as lovely as this is in wines, it also makes for fantastic fruit-forward beers with a lot of citrus and stone fruit up front, balanced by a nice biscuity backbone.
Gewürztraminer anyone? Try a Witbier! With citrus, fresh herbs and floral notes, and a hint of warm spice upfront, you will taste a marriage of coriander, orange peel, white tea, and honey.
For my Sauvignon Blanc drinkers, IPAs, and Pale Ales please!! With loads of citrus zest, grass-y and floral notes, and resin you’re bound to love these beers. They may even suit the Côtes du Rhône or Chateauneuf-du-Pape drinker with its bitterness, and medium to full body.
Bordeaux, and red or white Burgundy lovers should check out Brett-fermented beers. These beers have a ton of funk and earthiness to them. Some breweries add Brett to the bottle making no two of the same beers tasting exactly the same. A great example beer of this is Orval, which adds some brett to each bottle before bottling.
Chenin blanc and Saisons share the same deep golden color, with loads of spices, and fruitiness through out, and a touch of grass, and herbs. A Saison is sure to please your palate.
If you’re a Lambrusco, or Beaujolais Nouveau drinker than you must try a Fruit Lambic. These beers will drink dry and very fruit forward, with a touch of floral notes, and they will have some acidity to them for sure.
Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, or Red Blend drinkers, dive into stouts and porters, and anything that is barrel aged. These will be heavier bodied beers with notes of dark fruit, dried fruit, vanilla, oak, toffee and some bitterness. You’ll also get notes of chocolate and coffee in many stouts and porters, typically, but not always naturally from the malted grains.
There are many other styles of beer that will match your style of wine, these here a just a few. I suggest getting out there and drinking different styles of beer to see what suits you best, just like you did when you first got into wine. And just like in wine, beer styles vary in characteristics by their region. Trial and error works best, but also talking with a knowledgable beer drinker at your local store will help. Ask questions, we won’t get snobby with you. And after they give you some beer recommendations, try giving them a wine recommendation, I know I would appreciate that. After-all, beer and wine are food, and food brings people together. Its the one thing every single person has in common. If you sat down two enemies at a table and served them delicious food and drinks, I guarantee they will leave being best buds.