Wine and beer share similarities: both are fermented, filtered and aged. Both also use simple primary ingredients to determine flavour. In wine it’s just grapes and yeast, but in beer there’s the grain, hops, yeast and (to a lesser extent) water. So it’s only right that beer should share a place on the dining table with wine.
Are you gladdened by Grenache? Mesmerised by Merlot? Charmed by Chardonnay? Pleased by Pinot? You are! Good, because there’s a beer for that and it’s every bit as good as your preferred plonk.
Malbec is known for its dark fruit flavour, chocolate and coffee notes and slightly smoky finish which almost perfectly describes some stouts and porters. Malbec fanciers would do well to seek out beery alternatives such as Meantime Chocolate Porter, Samuel Smith’s organic Chocolate Stout, Caledonian’s Coffee Porter and Fuller’s London Porter.
Sticking with red and the bright red fruit flavours of Rioja’s, you’ll find plenty of beer alternatives that will linger long in the taste buds. Thornbridge’s I Love U Will You Marry Me, St Austell’s Strawberry Blonde, The Goddess of the Spring by The Celt Experience and Arbor Ales Strawberry Blonde all have a, you guessed it, prominent strawberry, red fruit character that make them a great replacement for Rioja.
But let’s paint with a broader red wine brush; if you like your reds spicy try Sharp’sSpiced Red, which does exactly what it says on the label. If you lean towards mellower fruit flavours St Peter’s Brewery Ruby Red Ale will work for you. Should hearty, warming wines be your pick you’re spoilt for choice with Shepherd Neame 1698, Wharfe Bank Camfell Flame and Ringwood’s Old Thumper, among lots of others, all offering everything your top wine does.
Now we’ll lighten things up and look at some alternatives to white wines. Chenin Blanc is crisp and citrusy, just like Williams Brothers Birds & Bees. Keeping it blanc but Sauvignon, the Kernel’s Nelson Sauvin has a name that suggests it’s a more than adequate replacement, and it is. If you’re looking to swap your Pinot Grigio the citrus and gentle honey of 1648 Brewing’s Bee Head sings all the right notes. And the next time you want to enjoy the pineapple and mango flavours of a ripe Chardonnay opt for a Brewdog Punk IPA, which also offers the added pleasure of palate cleansing carbonation. Wine definitely can’t compete with that.