For all the similarities that exist in making beer and wine, consumers’ perception of the two beverages couldn’t be further apart. For too many people, beer is the inexpensive, generic, blue-collar drink of the masses that washes down brats and burgers and celebrates mundane victories, like a sub-90 round of golf. On the other hand, wine is the expensive and refined drink of the sophisticated elite, worthy enough to christen battleships and toast weddings.
While the majority of wine drinkers can only dream of affording the world’s greatest wines, any average Joe can afford the world’s best beer.
The disproportionate respect for wine over beer is perhaps most extreme in the USA. One brewer, Garrett Oliver, attributes this legacy to our English ancestors. When William the Conqueror from French Normandy defeated the English at Hastings in 1066, it ushered in a bias for everything French, including the wine-drinking habits of the Norman nobility. It also prompted a profound disdain for everything connected to the common Anglo Saxons, including their taste for beer.
I recently decided that I should learn about the various connections between beer and wine, so I registered to take the Certified Specialist of Wine exam. While I had previously assumed that brewing and winemaking were not at all alike, I soon learned that there were many similarities. I consequently gained a deeper appreciation of both beverages.