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Saturday, February 15, 2014

Beer turns into wine!

Beer is becoming the new wine in America. Check out the similarities with high-end wines and craft beer.

Serious vs. Ordinary
There are the ordinary wines in boxes and bottles that cost under ten bucks. No self-respecting wine snob will ever go near these--same with beer. The beer geek looks down on Bud Lite and anyone who drinks it. It's all about flavors, complexities, and pushing the envelope on alcohol levels to get there.

Bottle sizes
In the old days wine came in jugs; beer in 12 oz. cans and bottles. Now beer comes in 22 ounce and 750ml bottles and even bigger special occasion beer bottles. Some have corks.

Prices
North Coast Old Stock Ale
Vintage 2011
Image from ratebeer.com

Those big beer bottles can easily cost $15 and up.

Vintage dating
Some beers get vintage dates just like wine, only the vintage year on beer tells you not just when it's fresh, but helps you determine how long to age your beer. And you can have arguments with your beer geek buddies about a particular beer--whether the 2010 or 2011 vintage is better.

Barrel-aged
It costs more to use a barrel so these beers are most expensive as is wine aged in barrels.

Top brewmasters
Winemakers such as Helen Turley are rock stars. So are guys like Vinny from Russian River Brewery. Of course, there are other famous beer makers as Adolf Coors -- the counterpart to Julio Gallo.

Beer and food pairings
Apparently it's not just Cheetos and pretzels anymore. Here's a beer / food pairing chart from CraftBeer. One difference with wine / food pairing suggestions I noticed on this chart--there are a lot of beers that go with meat pies. You don't hear much about meat pie and wine. Also, under "lighter fare" they've listed bratwurst. Gotta love it!

As soon as they start labeling the appellations for the hops we'll know beer has made it.