Beer vs. Wine Fridays



cwbsmall.jpgGrape vs. Grain author Charles Bamforth weighs in on Fridays with his ideas about the relationship between beer and wine, as well as some little-known facts.

I was recently in a restaurant with a bunch of guys from a well-known North American brewing company. We each ordered their flagship lager and were appalled by what arrived. The beer, of course, was great. No, it was the glasses: rolling around in each of them was an olive. My protest was met with the retort “but this is a poor man’s cocktail”.

Now, being beer folk, we eschewed wine. I am pretty sure, though, that if we had opted for a Pinot Noir or a Chardonnay, the theater would have been entirely different, with much ceremony of presentation and celebration of the label, ritualistic de-corking and pretentious nosing of the bouquet. I suppose I should at least have been grateful that we got glasses and weren’t expected to do what seems to be the norm in many eating houses, namely to swig the beer straight from the bottle. What a curious habit that truly is: when did you last see someone order a delicate little number, say a Mouton Rothschild Chateau, and heave it down their gullet straight from the container?


Did you know?

Wine and beer both contain phenolic antioxidants. It has been shown that one of these in beer (ferulic acid) gets into the body more efficiently from beer than it does from a tomato.

The desire to pee is less when you drink stale beer as opposed to fresh beer.


5 Responses

  1. I’m a Grain, so to speak, as well. I have had to ask for a glass many times, though I’ve never had a server or bartender throw in an olive… not yet anyway.

  2. Excellent article and top site.

    I wish that I could visit this area and taste the wine for myself.
    However I have to content myself thousands of miles away here in Aussie with a bottle of the local.

    You just can’t beat a good French drop.


  3. I’ve ordered the book! I’m a beer geek (right into the history of the stuff), but have just bought a vineyard/winery. Made 3 batches of beer since we bought it, one yesterday with some merlot and pinot bubbling away in the corner. To put it another way, I’m right in the middle of vintage but I know I’m running out of beer. I’m pretty sure I have my priorities right.
    And, since this place is registered as a winery, there’s quite a few less hoops to jump through to get a microbrewery license. Not to mention some very nice stainless fermenters that were already here…
    cheers and beers,

  4. Dave,

    Congratulations, you’re living the dream. Looks like I’ve found a destination when I travel down under sometime in the next few years.

    Everyone remember, Bamforth posts every Friday!

    My fermenters are of the 5-gallon glass carboy variety, what with the small Brooklyn apartment and all. I’ll get stainless one of these days. I’ll also take a shot at wine someday, but to be honest, I’m a bit frightened. Bamforth’s arguments about beer hold true the other way. It may be more difficult, but it’s more consistent–I’m more comfortable knowing what’ll come out of those bottles!

  5. […] it does, with those beautiful foams, one of the most pleasing sights known to humankind. If you pour the beer into a glass, that […]

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