Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Beer vs Wine

So what's the obvious thing on most people's minds when they hear 'beer and cheese evening'? Maybe this is some kind of crazy twist on the wine and cheese evening thing? Or maybe it's hosted by Morrissey Fox like characters telling pub jokes and seeing who can burp the loudest? But it isn't like this kind of thing is unheard of, check out events here, and here.

Beer and cheese, both born on the farm from natural grasses, both fermented, both sharing similar flavour ranges. Earthy, spicy, grainy, pungent. Like two similar characters. One liquid, one solid. It just makes sense. Apparently the Belgians have been into beer with cheese for along time now.

But another interesting thing I came across the other da , was this event of beer vs wine on the dinner table. Here Stone brewings Greg Koch and wine boffin Barry Wiss paired various dishes with wine and beer to determine which paired with food best.

Beer vs. Wine 2008 from Redtail Media on Vimeo.

I'm not against wine, in fact I'm quite fond of the stuff. But here's my opinion. With matching beer/wine with food, you have the possibility of a million and one combinations. Maybe the beer/wine guy picks the best/worst combination, it depends. It depends on who picks the bests flavour harmonies (or contrasts). At  least on some level the above competition is just as much about Koch vs Wiss than beer vs cheese.

 Then you have the audience. If the audience is say, myself and a bunch of other beer enthusiasts and bloggers some could say the audience is subjectively biased in the favour of beer over wine. The same could be reversed if the audience are a team of wine writers. I myself have tried pairing wine and food but have more often paired beer and food. There is no doubt the two beverages have different chemistry with food, to me the beer and food chemistry makes more sense, the argument of which goes better is an entirely closed loop and subjective (on the subject, at about my fifth beer you may hear me mentioning that beer basically beats wines ass with food due to its greater diversity and versatility with food but to be PC it's more accurate to say its subjective). So yeah you know which side I'm on.

Finally you have the food itself. Most experts say beer goes with virtually anything but in a competition with wine pairing with Mediterranean cuisine then you might have problems. With Belgian or German cuisine the situation could be reversed. Food elements like sausage, chocolate and dare I say it, cheese can be used in beer's favour.

It seems Greg's little project back in 2007 and 2009 presented proof that the tables of beverage superiority laid down by the decades of media hype and pretentiousness behind wine could indeed be turned. What does it all mean?? Well that would be subjective. What is the moral of the story?? Well my advice would be to drink whatever the hell you like with whatever you like and never be afraid to try new stuff or experiment. Giving guidelines is all good but everyone tastes slightly differently.

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