It’s a drink with as much versatility as wine, from deep, dark stouts so rich and thick you could almost stand a spoon in them, to light, airy, crisp and dry Pilsners that (almost) can’t be beaten on a hot day.
Okay - we know this is a wine site. We are pretty much obsessed with the stuff and we're dedicated to all things vino. Hell, if you cut us, we’d probably bleed Shiraz.
But! We are aware that other drinks do exist, and even huge wine fans such as us can’t resist the lure of a decent glass of beer from time to time. After all, it’s a drink with as much versatility as wine, from deep, dark stouts so rich and thick you could almost stand a spoon in them, to light, airy, crisp and dry Pilsners that (almost) can’t be beaten on a hot day.
Plus, the world of beer is undergoing a similar renaissance to wine, with more and more people than ever before taking an active interest into how their beers are made and where they’ve come from. The craft beer movement has been massive all over the world, and it has been exciting to see artisan products and traditional recipes being promoted over boring, mass-produced, lifeless lagers.
We’ve always believed in keeping an open mind when it comes to drinks. It’s an approach which has led us to explore wines of all styles and varieties, from every corner of the world. It’s also why we find it a bit frustrating when we meet people who turn their nose up at wine, for no reason other than they define themselves as a ‘beer drinker’.
It’s a mentality that makes little sense for two key reasons: firstly, deciding to avoid drinking something because you think you won’t like it is a mentality most of us grow out of at seven years old. Secondly, just because you like drinking one thing, doesn’t mean you can’t allow yourself to drink something else from time to time. It would be like somebody refusing a steak on account of them really, really enjoying sausages - totally ridiculous!
So, if you are - or more likely, someone you know is - a ‘beer drinker’ who generally avoids trying wine, you’re going to have to be eased into wine drinking slowly and gently. The truth is, not only are most modern wines far more approachable than most people seem to think but also they have a lot in common with many beers, from their flavour profiles to overall characteristics.
With this in mind, we’ve put together a brief list of wine styles and types which have plenty in common with certain types of beers. Basically, if you really like a particular type of beer, there’s almost definitely a wine out there that matches it pretty well!
So, read on, and treat yourself to a whole new set of taste sensations. Trust us, you’re going to love it.
If you like dark porter or stout…
Drink Shiraz or Bordeaux wines. The chances are, you’ll be a fan of deep, complex, savoury and spicy flavours, which both these beers and these wines have in abundance. Heavy and dark, with plenty of hedgerow fruit flavours, balanced acidity and gorgeous touches of coffee, pepper, tobacco and chocolate, both Bordeaux wines and Shiraz are fantastically warming wines which deserve slow contemplation and savouring.
If you like wheat beers....
Try either Chardonnay, which has a similar weight and fruitiness, or a Spanish Albarino, which has an intensely fruity nose, a similar freshness, and a curious salinity that is absolutely gorgeous on a hot day. Like wheat beers, both of these wines proudly display their fruit-driven characteristics and a great balance of sweetness and acidity. For something a little more elegant, Viognier is a great choice, as it has a touch of that floral, honeyed character that wheat beer drinkers will recognise.
If you like pilsner / European style lager…
Well, there are a few wines that would fit into this category. If you drink Pilsner for its refreshing qualities, you can either go down the sparkling wine route, for example with a gorgeously crisp Cava, or you could go for something light, bright and breezy. Gruner Veltliner is gaining popularity for its crispness and dryness, and the fact that it - just like lager - goes amazingly well with a curry. If you want something a little softer, Pinot Grigio is a top choice, so long as you go for a good quality one from somewhere like Alto Adige, where they pick up plenty of fresh alpine characteristics.
If you like IPA or American pale ales…
Go for a Rhône blend, such as Côtes du Rhône, Chateauneuf du Pape, or an Aussie GSM. These red wines are renowned for their juiciness, and their savoury, herbal flavour profiles which should tickle the taste buds of hop-heads who love their IPAs. Also for fans of these beers (which are bang on trend at the moment), you could try a Chilean Carmenere - the rising star of the New World wines, which has a great balance of bitter, savoury and fruity flavours, just like an American style pale ale. If you fancy trying a white wine, then Sancerre would be a great call for IPA lovers - these wines have a really lovely freshly-cut grass feel to them, and loads of citrus and herbal character.
If you like traditional bitter or brown ale…
Your best bet is probably a good quality Pinot Noir. Highly drinkable, light and not overly tannic, it’s the kind of wine which is great to drink with your mates during a meal. Top end Pinot Noirs really pack in a lot of flavour despite their relatively light body, in much the same way a great English style ale will. Nice!
Believe me, these recommendations are just the tip of the iceberg. While there are loads of beers and beer styles out there, the range available pales in comparison to the variety of wines that exist in the world.
If you think you don’t like wine, the reality is you probably just haven’t yet found the right wine for you. Don’t worry - you’re going to have a lot of fun while searching for it!
So to help you start off on the right foot, here's our fun wine profile quiz that you should try. We'll then tell you the best wines that will suit your personal taste according to your quiz results! Click here to take our Wine Palate Quiz and match your personal tastes to the three bottles we think you'll love most.
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