Beer is Better than Wine Because, Well, Because

beer_vs._wineMaybe it’s bad reporting. Maybe it’s just a matter of click-bating. Maybe its just a case of someone throwing a ball through a window then running away. No matter what it is, a story claiming that “beer is a better drink to serve with food” breaks one of my cardinal rules: if you are going to make a bold statement, at least make the slightest effort to back it up with reasoning.

As explained in the Telegraph and at Drinks Business, England’s Beer Sommelier of the Year Jane Peyton claims that “It’s actually much better pairing with food than wine and there are so many special beers for fine dining.”

I kept reading and reading. Found different stories concerning the claim. Searched through the articles. Nothing. It’s not a case of an over-anxious headline writer. Ms. Peyton actually said this about beer. And it might be true. But for heaven sake, make an effort…and that goes for those writing the story as well as for the subject of the story.

Ms. Peyton does, however, display what appears to be a somewhat hefty chip on her shoulder:

“But snobbery means it’s an uphill battle to convince people of all that. Wine as the drink of people of high status for 5,000 years and the wine industry, with its good PR has maintained that reputation.”

Well, I thank her for the compliment, considering that I am involved in the PR effort to advance the case of wine. But really, is it just all spin that wine, with its hundreds of varietals, various means of crafting the beverage, its long connection between terroir, culture and cuisine, etc, etc, etc, etc, is only granted a spot as the drink of choice with food due to PR?

In any case, I genuinely would like to know how one makes the case that beer is a better drink for pairing with food. But alas, until some intrepid reporter, writer, blogger or editor actually asks Ms. Peyton, all we have is a claim and a chip. And that’s too bad, because I’d love to see a good square off between the wine and the food advocates over this issue.

3 Responses

  1. Charlie Olken - July 6, 2015

    It is the chip on the shoulder that bugs me the most. Most wine people that I know also like beer. If you ask the winemaking population what they drink after a long day of pressing grapes, dragging hoses, filtering, blending, bottling and the like, you will find that beer is very often the tipple of choice.

    And I will offer a kind word for Ms. Peyton–or rather for her claim–because I would rather drink beer with many foods and in many settings. Beer with burgers, beer with hot dogs in buns with mustard and sauerkraut, beer at baseball games, beer with Indian and Chinese food most of the time.

    There is nothing at all wrong with beer. But as in all things, when the claims of superiority start flying whether for natural or authentic or artisanal or craft or biodynamic or IPOB, the claimants get shrill and narrow.

    It will come as no surprise to anyone who knows me that I drink a lot of wine. It should also come as no surprise that I drink a beer when the intersection of occasion or cuisine and my palate call for it.

    Ms. Peyton, where’s the beef?

  2. Thomas Pellechia - July 7, 2015

    Everything Charlie commented is spot on.

    One more thing: among the first lessons I learned as a salesman back in the Stone Age was to sell your product by its merits, not by your view of the failure of some other product. It’s better that way–if you want to build trust.

  3. Kurt Burris - July 7, 2015

    I completely agree with the above sentiments. One of the first things I learned on the crush pad is that it takes a lot of beer to make good wine. I know of more than one winery with a beer tap system in the cellar. There are times when I will have a nice Pilsner or IPA before a meal that I plan on drinking wine with. The two yeast derived products are not mutually exclusive.

    And, as Thomas states, one should never try to sell your product by insulting the buyer by essentially saying, “What you are serving in crap.”

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