Wine drinkers vs. beer drinkers
What’s in my glass?
Oktoberfest Beers — It can almost be taken for granted that a beer labeled an Oktoberfest will be of the Marzen style. Marzen is a German lager that emphasizes the light, toasty caramel malts that give it a deep copper hue. The hops are of the spicy noble varieties and are present but not emphasised. Mouthfeel is usually medium and the overall impression of the beer should be a refreshing quaff that suggests another taste is in order. My favorites perennially are the Paulaner, which is a traditional German offering and the Oktoberfest from Left Hand. Another Front Range brewery that is producing a good example is Prost. Look forward to one from The Rockslide here in a few weeks.
Wine drinkers and beer drinkers are subject to certain preconceptions. While these stereotypes aren’t always true, there is a reason they exist.
Wine drinkers are the more subdued of the two, typically sipping as opposed to the chugging, as their beer drinking cousins are known for. The wine drinkers sit around a table, likely with some hors d’oeuvres, snacking and commenting about how well the flavors of the food and wine play off of each other. The beer drinkers sit on a couch, the table in front of them is littered with bags of chips, or maybe pretzels, and the beer is used to wash down the salty, orange powder that would otherwise coat their palates like it does their fingers. Wine drinkers discuss the beverage itself as they reflect on societal problems and how to best plan for their children’s educations. Beer drinkers curse at the TV’s football announcers while secretly hoping their kid becomes the next ball deflating superstar; no one talks about the beer because it is exactly the same one they had last week, and the week before, ad infinitum.
These particular beer drinkers are not like the ones I have come to know. And these wine drinkers are likewise, not truly representative of the reality of our world today. The fact is both groups have become hybrids of themselves. Wine drinkers are likely to relax, watch baseball and eat chips, and beer drinkers have more choices than in collective memory and are taking advantage of that wealth of choice. Both groups have learned to incorporate the better traits of their counterparts, and I advocate for more of the same.
My favorite beer drinkers tend to be wine drinkers too. They appreciate the value of thinking about the beer in their hand and choosing the next one based not on price point or familiarity, but because of how it will go with the particular slice of pizza they are eating. They face a backlash from Big Beer through ads that call them snobs simply because they actually think about their beer, as opposed to being spoon fed the same thing their father drank. And in spite of this they continue to analyze and consider their beverage and to look forward to the next seasonal release, or one-off beer, from their favorite brewer. They are deliberate and knowledgeable and prefer to share their drinking experience. Some of them are even rather evangelical about the topic.
I do still meet a few wine drinkers who have a distaste for beer, though it always seems rooted in the preconceptions of the culture as opposed to actually having a broad enough knowledge base to actually be able to say that beer itself is unlikeable. When I meet these folks I tend toward trying to convince them of the merits of craft beer, the endless variety that can be created by combining various malts, hops and yeasts and through the application of different brewing techniques. Sometimes I create a convert. Slainte.
Kristian Hartter is a beer advocate. He has lived in the Grand Valley for 13 years and believes the craft beer culture here has almost unlimited potential.
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