It’s no secret that anyone reading this blog is in a long-term relationship with wine, and as it turns out, the rest of America is well on its way to join us!
According to a recent Gallup poll, 35% of alcohol-consuming respondents drank more wine than any other alcoholic beverage, a statistical tie to to the number of respondents who reached for beer more often.
And even more interesting is that this increase in primarily wine consumption (from only 27% in 1992) is most noticeable in the younger of us Americans, ages 18-29, as well as women over 50 also chipping in. According to a recent Wine Market Council survey, 21-34 year olds now account for 28% of “core” wine drinkers, consuming 93% of the wine sold in the country.
At the crux of the debate, Food & Wine recently invited He Said Beer, She Said Wine authors Sam Calagione (founder of Dogfish Head Brewery) and Marnie Old (notable wine educator) to battle for the best pairing. They themselves along with Food & Wine rated their variable pairings. Sometimes wine won out, and sometimes beer dominated. Here is the synopsis:
Guinness Stout vs. 2000 La Rioja Alta Viña Alberdi Rioja Reserva
Though the elegant Rioja doesn’t overpower this unpretentious vegetarian dish, the toasty Guinness wins out with the smoky eggplant.
Allagash White vs. 2006 Alma Rosa Chardonnay
The beer’s fruity spice is pleasant with the sweet scallops and slightly spicy salad, but ultimately the oak in the wine echoes flawlessly with the grilled scallops and corn.
Brooklyn Brewery Brooklyn Brown Ale vs. 2006 Viña Cobos El Felino Malbec
While the earthy Malbec works well with the lamb, and the fat mellows the tannins, the remoulade made for a bit of a wine conundrum. The ale has toasty flavors that rejoice better superiorly with the cheeseburger’s char.
Chimay Red vs. 2004 Rosemount Show Reserve GSM
The fruity wine is wins out big with the bright, fruity glaze, though the apricot ale does compliment the spice and fruit and has just enough alcohol to prevent the glaze from tasting too spicy.
Alpine Beer Company Pure Hoppiness vs. 2006 Mary Elke Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir has a silky fruit and mild tannin that goes well with this down-home, humble dish, but the hops and citrus of this IPA win out in counterbalancing the sweet meat of the chicken here.
Westmalle Tripel vs. 2006 Concha y Toro Marqués de Casa Concha Cabernet Sauvignon
Wise wine pairing where ripe fruit does shine; however, consensus says that the creamy and complex ale is more outstanding with this sweet and spicy sauce.
Schneider Aventinus vs. 2007 Alkoomi Riesling
The lean, sharp acidity of the Riesling is the hero with the sauce and cuts right through the richness of the pork, though the beer’s light clove flavor goes well with the vinegar and mustard.
Victory Prima Pilsner vs. 2006 Georges Duboeuf Domaine des Rosiers Moulin-à-Vent Beaujolais
This wine’s vibrant fruit is ideal with hot dogs, as Marnie says, "Sausage is built for wine," and this wine is no exception paired with these snappy, salty hot dogs and grilled coleslaw, but its yeasty nemesis is refreshing with the dish.
Dogfish Head Palo Panto Parron vs. 2006 Brandal Albariño
The bright wine wins out, becoming more complex with the tangy ratatouille, but we won’t knock the beer’s roasty sweetness with the dish.
In Colorado we drink roughly 10x more beer than we do wine, especially with the multitude of local craft beers that can be paired cleverly with meals; but, as in the nation, that number is shifting in Colorado to more wine. The Wine Dispensary consensus? It is all a matter of taste, but we’ll stick with wine nearly any day!