If you are a beer lover and refuse to drink wine, you are totally missing out. It is understandable that beer and wine are two very different drinks- with beer being brewed all year-round with lots of different starches and wine being produced only once a year from different kinds of grapes. Beer is also seen as a more casual drink compared to wine.
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However, just because beer and wine are completely different, it doesn’t mean you should limit yourself. And, while wine and beer are made in different ways, from different products, they still are both fermented, alcoholic drinks which can truly share flavor similarities.
If you are still in doubt, you won’t be after looking at these 6 popular styles of beer and their wine equivalents:
For Stout drinkers- Try Merlot
For those who drink stouts, generally enjoy the comforting richness of the beers roasted, malty flavors. They often give hints of chocolate, coffee, and even toffee. They are quite exceptional beers and tend to be less heavy and bitter than the average beers.
Red wine is definitely the way to go when pairing Stout with wine. Reds particularly in the region of Merlot, Malbec and Shiraz Triangle (all often confused with each other). These wines have a softer approach, with a richness of fruit, yet a balanced acidity that stout drinkers look for.
For the Pale Ale drinkers- Try Grüner Veltliner
For those who enjoy tasting the hops in their beer, but don’t want them dominating the flavor, pale ales are always preferable. Hops give a fresh greenness to the beer, being grassy and slightly bitter, but complimented by bright citrus at the same time.
The best match for this type of beer is Austria’s Grüner Veltliner wine, which has that same green quality as a pale ale. The best way to describe it is the flavor of chive alongside a bitter and spicy flavor like pepper or radish, all brought together with a citrus like lime or grapefruit.
For the Lager drinkers- Try Verdejo From Rueda
Larger is one of the most misconceived styles of beer there is, being thought as boring, unnotable and suitable for mindless drinking at bars or cookouts. The mass production of this style of beer really takes away how awesome Lager actually is, with its crisp, refreshing, savory taste.
Verdejo contains all the qualities that lager drinkers crave in an alcoholic beverage. Verdejo may seem simple at first, but it has hidden savory qualities of good lagers, with its clean drinkability and bright citrus flavors.
For Wheat beer drinkers- Try Albariño From Rias Baixas
Somehow, in a country such as America, who enjoy super bitter beers, have come to love wheat beer and it has come to be the most polarizing style of beer in America. Wheat beer is extremely thirst quenching and intensely fruity with orange and coriander flavors and close flavors of a traditional hefeweizen.
This fruit-driven beer is closely matched to the delicious Albariño From Rias Baixas because it is intensely fruity, with aromas of tropical fruit such as peach and meyer lemon, but with zippy lime flavors and lots of texture. Like wheat beer, the acidity removes any illusion of sweetness, leaving your mouth refreshed and ready for another sip.
For Sour beer drinkers- Try Loire Valley Whites
The popularity of sour beers has definitely grown over the years. Sour beers tend to be tart, earthy and noticeably high in acidity. This generally means the sour beer is inherently very wine-like. The good thing about this being a wine-like beer is there are plenty of high acidic, savory, white wines to choose from.
The Loire Valley selection of wine is mineral-driven, savory whites. For lovers of salty, tart beverages should definitely look to the Loire region of Muscadet near the ocean. For more ‘out there’ sour beer lovers, you should move inland, where Chenin Blanc has funky flavors of cheese rind, toasted nuts and much more.
For IPAs drinkers- Try Sancerre
While a lot of IPAs reside within the pale ale category, a lot of pale ales are less hoppy than IPAs. IPAs are definitely dominated by the flavor of hops, making it greatly bitter and green. You can definitely not mistake this beer with its bold flavor.
Sancerre has intense hop quality and is also citrus-driven in flavor, making it a perfect match to IPAs. Rather than a bell pepper green type flavor, Sancerre’s flavor is more like fresh cut grass or herbs like basil and parsley. With this wine also being acid-driven, the grapefruit and lemon citrus make Sancerre slightly bitter, but refreshing.
How to Pair Cheese and… Chocolate?
Who doesn’t love cheese or chocolate? But together? Believe it or not, they’re actually the perfect combination for a tasting!
Cheese and chocolate are so different that the thought of pairing them seems difficult. The key to this type of tasting is keeping it simple. Both are super-rich foods and a little goes a long way. Choose quality over quantity and limit to three to five pairings.
The Art of Tasting
Learning how to taste cheese and chocolate will deepen your appreciation for the foods and makers. Start with your basic senses and expand from there. Be sure both are room temperature before tasting. Remove the cheeses from refrigerator at least 20-35 minutes before the tasters arrive to maximize flavors and aromas. Cold cheese does not release flavors and aromas as quickly and alters the taste.
Cheese: Some cheeses are intense in color while others are not. Look at the cheese rind. Is it uniform? Any cracks? Is the cheese dry like a walnut shell or moist like a sliced apple?
Chocolate: For chocolate, color depends on the origin of the beans. Quality chocolate will be shiny, glossy, and have clean edges. Look for bloom or grayish white steaks caused by poor temperature and improper storage.
Cheese: Is the cheese dense, compact or light? Is it smooth, grainy or crunchy? The higher the butter fat content, the creamier the mouth feel of the cheese will be.
Chocolate: Never chew chocolate. Chocolate should melt in your mouth. Good chocolate will feel silky and smooth. Subpar chocolate may feel grainy, waxy or greasy to the tongue.
Last, the finish..
Allow the cheese and chocolate to linger to fully appreciate the finale of the flavors. The finish is important as many of the early flavors may be masked by other ingredients.
Not all your cheese and chocolate pairings will be a success, but tasting is half the fun. Take your time and try different pairings. Host a cheese and chocolate event, and guide your friends on a delicious journey. Just remember, keep it simple.