Tuesday, August 11, 2009

What Beer do Sommeliers Drink?


Sometimes it's simply too darn hot to drink wine. For instance- here's a perfect scenario- you've just finished mowing the lawn; you're dripping in sweat. You step out onto the deck to asses your handiwork. What's the quickest, most refreshing beverage to grab that doesn't require a corkscrew for immediate access? BEER! Thirst-quenching extraordinaire!

Sommeliers not only know their wines, but we simply MUST know our beers too! One of my favorite quotes while visiting wineries in Oregon last year is by winemaker Steve Dornan of Cristom Vineyards, after I was startled to find him enjoying a beer at a lavish dinner, "It takes a lot of beer to make a great wine!" Simply awesome, and oh-so-true. What do these guys drink on a 90 degree day? It ain't wine!!!

So what do winemakers and sommeliers prefer on the hottest days of summer? Well, me.....I like a Hefe-Weizen or Weisse beer (Wheat beers with a cloudy color that are so refreshing with a slice of orange or lemon). These have a citrus-y note and a lemon-chiffon texture- soft and easy on the acidity.

I'm also a big IPA girl, though the fruitiness of the hops in these beers reminds me more of Fall than anything, with hints of milk chocolate and honey. If you're an IPA kinda guy or gal, you must try the Pinnacle of IPAs, which is Dogfish Head- SERIOUS stuff, and is like drinking a fine Pomerol. If you're an IPA virgin, then start off with something easy to drink, like Harpoon- another personal favorite.

Sometimes its a good 'ol-fashioned Pilsener I'm craving- light crisp, and refreshing- sort of the Sauvignon blanc of the beer world. I like the imports here, such as Pilsener Urquell, or Bitburger Pils from Germany.

Lastly, if I'm having a good steak, and want a heartier beer to stand up to my BBQ/ smoky flavors, I go to Porters or Stouts. For Domestic- do either the Otter Creek Stovepipe Porter, or Sam Adams Honey Porter. For imported, I recommend Sam Smith's Taddy Porter- it totally rocks! On the Stouts- the biggest is still my go-to- of course, Guinness.....But, I've got to tell you, Sam Smith's Oatmeal Stout is like a fine meal unto itself- rich and creamy on the palate, with that bitter coffee and dark chocolate hints. Like a fine cigar!

Ok, so grab a 6 of your style of preference, and do it up this August- time's a wasting, and the weather's not this hot for long!!!