Different tastes to try for hardcore beer and wine fans

Get out of your alcohol comfort zone.
Get out of your alcohol comfort zone.

Wine drinkers might turn up their noses at a cold can of beer. And beer drinkers might have zero interest in a tall glass of cabernet.

But this can change, promises certified wine educator Jim Laughren.

Constantly asked by women how to interest boyfriends and husbands in opening a great bottle of wine instead of cracking a beer at the end of a long day, he authored “A Beer Drinker’s Guide to Knowing and Enjoying Fine Wine.”

He is sure the two drinking camps have something in common: “Wine drinkers can be just as bad as beer drinkers in their reluctance to cross the barrier,” he says.

But he’s hoping both can taste the other side. How to tug someone toward trying something new?

“You should appeal to their adventurousness,” he says.

Wine drinkers in particular might not realize all that goes into beer making — just as much complexity as winemaking, Laughren says. 

Adds Kevin Faerkin, sommelier and general manager at the Grand Central Oyster Bar, “Generally if people say, ‘I don’t like beer,’ I would guarantee that they haven’t run the gamut of all the different kinds of beer there are in the world.”

Below, a few wine pairings for die-hard beer drinkers, as well as beer suggestions for wine-club members.

Tips for finding a new taste

Assess the palate: Does someone enjoy black coffee, coffee with cream or sugar or no coffee at all? “That tells you a lot about someone’s palate,” Laughren says.

For example, someone drawn to a lighter drink – whether lager or a crisp white wine – probably wants to try something light on the other side of the equation. Same with red: A tannen-heavy red fan might like a stout beer.

“Those are people who are flavor junkies,” Laughren says. “They’re looking for a big smack in the mouth.”

Wine suggestions for beer lovers:
Light lager lovers: cava, sauvignon blanc or a light red wine such as a rioja crianza
IPA or stout fans: brunello, syrah, carmenere or a bordeaux

Beer suggestions for wine aficionados:
Red wine fans: saisons, doppelbocks and Belgian strong ales
White wine fans: wheat beers, pilsners and brown ales

Follow Alison Bowen on Twitter @reporteralison


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