"In Defense of Beer" This month column was written by Bob's friend and home brewer Peter J. Paffgen
I recently had a discussion with a wine sommelier about the similar program for beer offered by Cicerone. Not having heard of the program he immediately dismissed it with a condensing "after all, it's only about beer". I'll spare you the rest of his rant but trust me, it wasn't pretty. I have chosen to respond to him here, in this forum. So, thanks to my friend Bob Montemurro for not only giving me this chance to write this month's column but also for a few thoughts of his own to chastise my wine loving acquaintance.
Dear (name omitted to protect the guilty) -
There are more ingredients in a bottle of beer than a glass of wine. This creates a more complex flavor with each drink of beer than of wine. Wine primarily consists of two ingredients, grapes and yeast (for fermentation). Beer, on the other hand, consists of several base ingredients such as barley, hops, yeast, and water. Beyond this the list of ingredients is limited only by the brewer’s imagination.
There is a greater range of color available within the world of beer than that of wine. In fact, beer color ranges from a pale straw to black, with a myriad of colors in between. This is extremely important because we humans rely on visual stimuli to rate quality and perceived taste. This is why beer should always be poured into a glass, rather than consumed from a bottle.
Wine makers have it easy; they are limited by their own profession to creating what has already been created. Creating a fine wine is a standard, not an art. Beer brewers are challenged to create new and interesting beers that will capture the hearts of beer drinkers around the world.
Brewers are able to use any ingredients they so desire; wine makers are limited to certain types of grapes and yeast to yield their product. Brewers are allowed to take risks that wine makers are not afforded. Beers have been brewed with fruit, peppers, wheat, and chocolate. Some beers require the addition of hops or fruit during the fermentation process; the brewer must have perfect timing to pull off such an addition or the entire brew will be destroyed.
Wine is typically restricted to an ABV of 10 to 15 percent, while beer has a wider range. Beer can range in ABV from 3 to 25 percent, or even greater.
Lastly, the brewer takes full responsibility if something is wrong with the product. The buck, or in this case the hops, stops with him. The vintner can simply say it was a bad year for the grapes so blame Mother Nature, not him.
So there you have it. Time for another beer and in the sake of harmony a wine to follow.
BeerNexus proudly presents
Bob Montemurro "the ombudsman of beer"
Bob and Friends Speak of Beer......
Cheers! My thanks to Pete Paffgan for this month's column. See you next time to "speak about beer". Bob Montemurro