A big part of the craft beer community is sharing your love for good beer with your friends and family. Quite often you run into someone that is a fan of wine and thinks beer isn’t for him or her, or you find a wine pairing list and would like to have a beer paired instead. There are easy, simple ways to pair beer with food, and we will cover that more in depth in a later post. Here, I would like to share a simple way of substituting wine directly for beer.
Now, these tastes are not direct replacements, meaning the beer listed does not taste like the wine listed. The taste characteristics, however, should be similar and someone that enjoys the wine listed should have good luck with the beer replacement.
1. Dry Red Wine
If dry red wine is the drink of choice, a good beer replacement would be a fruit lambic like Lindemans Framboise or Cantillon Kriek. These beers feature spontaneous fermentation and generally intense fruit characters while keeping the beer from being too sweet.
Another great replacement here is a Belgian Specialty beer. These would include beers like Dogfish Head Urkontinent. These beers feature belgian yeast, but generally are unique and use flavors not common to any one style.
Both these styles should make a dry red wine drinker happy, as they would give somewhat the same taste sensation while not being a flavor analog.
Champagne is a carbonated wine that is very unique and is light and spritzy. Keeping with this idea, a lighter beer like a lager or a lighter flavored wheat beer would be a great replacement. A great lighter wheat beer would be Sunshine Wheat by New Belgium Brewing, or Sierra Nevadas Kellerweis, a Bavarian-style hefeweizen. These are all light and refreshing without too much bitterness.
Brandy is a stronger alcoholic drink made from fermented grapes. Knowing this, a great replacement for it would be a higher alcohol barleywine or old ale. These beers have higher alcohol, and you can definitely taste it! Barleywines and old ales also tend to have a high level of malty sweetness that supports the same taste profile that is found in brandy. Some great barleywine replacements here would be Dogfish Head Olde School, Founders Bolt Cutter, and Sierra Nevada Bigfoot.
Some great old ales would be North Coast Brewing Old Stock Ale, Great Divide Hibernation Ale, or Old Man Winter from Southern Tier. Old ales tend to be similar to barleywines, but tend to be slightly less alcoholic and hoppy than their barleywine brethren.
Port wine is typically a sweet read wine that is considered a dessert wine. Port is a fortified wine, with extra alcohol being added to the already fermented grapes. Because of this, a good strong, dark beer is a nice replacement. A good Russian Imperial Stout will fill this void nicely. Russian Imperial stouts boast high alcohol and solid malt character. They are known for higher alcohol levels and toasty, chocolaty flavors. A good Russian Imperial stout here would be Old Rasputin by North Coast Brewing, Stone’s Imperial Russian Stout, or Bell’s Expedition Stout. These are all high alcohol, slightly boozy beers with a nice malt character.
There you have it. Hopefully you can help your friends and family experience a beer they might actually like! There are few things more rewarding than getting someone who says “I don’t like beer” to try a beer they love. Share what you know and help everyone enjoy what we already know is pretty great!
Until next time,