There’s lots of great beer out there and yet many wine lovers don’t like beer. Sure, there are people who don’t like any beer but there are also wine drinkers who haven’t found the right beer for them. We’re going to look at some different flavor profiles today to help open the wonderful world of craft beer to wine lovers. That’s right, we’ve got the best beers for wine drinkers, including one of the hottest styles right now: sour beers.
Can You Like Beer & Wine?
Yes! It is absolutely possible to enjoy beer and wine. It’s a matter of taste. Some beer lovers hate IPAs but love porters and stouts. Some wine lovers can’t stand oaked whites but love oaked reds. It’s all about finding what you like and experimenting from there. Tracking what you like and finding similar styles is a great way to expand your palate and find all sorts of things you like.
Where To Start
The first thing to understand is your palate. Or, in lay terms: what you like. Once you figure out what you like in wine it’s easy to transition to beer that will make you happy.
Think about how your favorite wine feels in your mouth.
If you like buttery Chardonnays and other oaked whites, you probably prefer a round or soft mouthfeel. Try a whit or wheat beer. These have a similar roundness and softness.
If you like tannic reds, you enjoy that astringent feeling behind your lips similar to when drinking black tea. Another hint that this is your jam is that you like when your tongue feels gravelly on the roof of your mouth when tasting. Try a pilsner or imperial stout. Both of these styles of beer are known for astringency although they are two very different styles.
This is easy. Do you like wine to be sweet or dry? Do you like things that are tart? What about bitter?
If you like sweet wines, look for stouts with chocolate, coffee or vanilla notes. Also consider sweet ciders.
On the other hand, if dry wines are more your style try a pale ale, IPA or dry cider.
If you like fruit flavors in your wine but don’t want something too sweet, go for a lambic. These beers are tart and full of delicious flavors like raspberry. Another option are sour beers, which we’ll get to in a bit. Preview: they are beloved by many wine drinkers.
If you like bitter tastes go for an IPA (India Pale Ale). Start with a standard IPA from the west coast and then delve into other parts of the country and world. Once you’re hooked experiment with double and triple IPAs. Your palate will expand as you drink so while a triple might be too much at first, you’ll be surprised how quickly you start to like it.
The Best Beers for Wine Lovers
IPAs were really hot for a while but sour beers are taking over the scene. The great thing about sours is that they come in several forms so you can find ones that fit several of the things you like in your drink from mouthfeel to fruit flavor. Sours are our recommendation for the best beers for wine lovers. They rarely have an overtly beer-like taste and instead incorporate open top fermenting for delicious sour notes. They also infuse fruit flavors.
When you’re looking for a sour we recommend starting with a gose. These lighter, top fermented beers have a little sour, a little salt and a nice blend of fruit and herb. Anderson Valley makes a great blood orange version as well as last summer’s favorite, Briny Melon.
Another style to try, while not technically a sour although often listed as such, is saison. These are spicy and sometimes fruity. Wine lovers enjoy saisons.
Barrel-conditioned sours are another great choice for wine lovers. These bigger, bolder beers are often aged in used wine barrels imparting flavors of your favorite styles of wine.
When you’re ready to take the plunge into sour and other beers come on down to the shop and we’ll help you find a beer that will start your exploration on the right foot.