Do you just love a good glass of wine? Although I am a huge beer fan, I can certainly appreciate a nice, dry and jammy Malbec or a sweet, peachy glass of Albarino with dinner from time to time. Some of my favourite days have been spent at wineries, with an oversized glass of the good grape stuff in my hand. There are many great beers out there that can appeal to the wine drinker in all of us.
Belgians often display qualities similar to wine. They use yeasts and conditioning methods which often create a very crisp, dry finish to the beer. Belgian beers often have nice floral or light fruity notes to them as well. As a result, many good Belgians will have tastes and aromas reminiscent of a good glass of wine.
Suggestions to try: Bush de Nuit, Deus Brut de Flandres
Wine comparisons: Chardonnay, champagne, zinfandel
Dubbels can draw a comparison to a pinot noir. They will have notes of things like red fruit, coriander, pepper, and banana that will be familiar to a pinot noir drinker.
Suggestions to try: Westmalle Dubbel, Abbey Ale by Ommegang Brewery, Maudite by Unibroue
Wine comparisons: pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon
Tripels will often resemble a chardonnay. Tripels can bring out that bright, fruity and even a little bit of the buttery and oaky notes that people look for in a chardonnay.
Suggestions to try: La Fin du Monde by Unibroue, Curieux by Allagash
Wine comparisons: chardonnay, Alberino
A Brett IPA or an IPA brewed with Brettanomyces, can have some delightfully wine-like tendencies toward acidity, fruity and floral notes, and a crisp, dry finish. The result is a beer that is often funky and which can be a bit wine-like.
Suggestions to try: Le Trou du Diable La Bretteusse by Swanigan, Enjoy After Brett by Stone Brewing.
Wine comparisons: Merlot, Malbec
A Brut IPA is fermented with a special enzyme that gives it a very champagne-like effervescence and a crisp, dry finish reminiscent of white wine. If a glass of champagne or Moscato is your thing, you may really enjoy a good Brut IPA beer.
Suggestions to try: Sierra Nevada Brut IPA, Kehrwieder Sonoma Extra Brut IPA, Ommegang Brut IPA, New Belgium Brut IPA
Wine comparisons: champagne, Moscato
Sours can be a very broad category and many of them will have wine-like qualities. Much good dark or barrel-aged sours will have rich, oaky and dark fruity tones that will call to mind a solid glass of Malbec or cabernet sauvignon.
In this category, it’s hard to beat the Funkatorium at Wicked Weed Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. A red wine lover will be in heaven here, with a plethora of delicious sours that could be held up alongside a great glass of red any day.
Suggestions to try: Wicked Weed Black Angel Cherry Sour, Wicked Weed Genesis Blonde Sour, Boulevard Changeling Barrel-Aged Sour Ale
Wine comparisons: Malbec, cabernet sauvignon
A Saison can also be great for lovers of wines such as champagne, chardonnay or pinot blanc. This is a dry, bright and effervescent beer that pairs well with lighter foods such as seafood, much like a good white wine.
Suggestions to try: Saison DuPont by Tourpes-Leuze, Allagash Saison
Wine comparisons: Champagne, chardonnay, pinot blanc
If you’re a fan of the grapes, you’ll be able to easily find some good hops to suit your palate. Both beer and wine carry a lot of similarities and if you select the right beers, you can find those common elements and appreciate a wine-like beer.