| Converting Wine Drinkers
by Susan Bartlett
Hello Bob -
I really don't know why most of my female friends don't like beer.
They're all basically wine lovers and laugh when I try to tell them
about beer. As a female I realize I'm in the minority but I like to
believe that's because many ladies think beer means Budweiser
and not craft beers. So a while ago I challenged them to let me pick
the drinks at our bi-weekly get together. Don't worry, it's on Zoom. I
send them a list of drinks a few days before the meeting so we all
could taste and discuss the same things.
I made it my mission to convert them. It’s a great feeling when you
get a wine lover to try a beer and see the look on their face when
they are surprised that they actually like it. So to start things off I
made the obvious choice, a Flemish Red. I went with Rodenbach.
the most famous representative of this style. Everyone had a bottle.
I explained that it is a Belgium barrel-aged sour. It's a style that a)
looks like wine and b) has a tart acidity that deviates from the normal
beer and actually mirrors some wines. Without involving grape must
or actually pouring wine into your beer, this is as wine like to me as
beer can get. Most of my friends were happily surprise at how much
they liked it.
The second beer I had them try was Westmalle Tripel, one of the
Trappist classics that I knew was fairly available and most could find
it at their local liquor shop. It's another great beer. This one, like
many Belgian brews, has a lot going on.
My wine friends describe wines, nearly always using about four
different adjectives which helped them describe this Tripel. The
complexity of traditional Belgian yeast spiciness, with the fruity
esters of the yeast, along with the clean malt taste, added to the
high ABV work together to make this an interesting beer alternative
to wine. My friends were beginning to understand.
For my next to last choice I went with something sweeter, Lindemans
Framboise Lambic.. This raspberry lambic is sweet and sour,
effervescent, and just plain fun. I may have used too many Belgium
beers in the tasting but honestly they’re just so good. Everyone
seemed to agree. These beers were changing minds.
My final selection was something a bit more familiar to the group.:
Guinness Draught Stout. Yes, I picked a stout! Generally speaking,
this beer gets high marks from wine lovers. The style itself lends
itself to a more complex beer than people who “don’t like beer” are
normally thinking of. The various types of darker/roasted malts put
layers of complexity into the taste of this brew. When it’s served on
Nitro ( Ihad them get can/bottle with a Nitro widget) you get a more
pub-like cask ale experience, which lends a velvety mouthfeel. I saw
quite a few raised eyebrows for this one. It’s just not something they
were expecting, or expecting to like, but they did!
From the feedback I received most of the wine drinkers had changed
their thoughts on beer. I hope I made some converts but you never
know. Our next meeting is going to be with wine again but when my
turn comes around you can be sure it will be about beer.
I really enjoy you column Bob. It's always fun and interesting. Hope
you think my report is too. Thanks!
Thanks Susan for a most enjoyable submission. You did a great job in
showing your friends that the world of beer is full of complex, rich,
exciting offerings that they can enjoy as much, if not more, than wine..
I'd like to invite everyone to send me their own columns about
anything related to beer in any way just as Susan did. I select the best
and publish them here. So join in and get writing!
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