As most serious aficionados already know, beer is the Rodney Dangerfield of the beverage world. Despite the fact that it boasts a greater diversity of style, wider breadth of flavour and more food friendliness than any other alcoholic beverage, wine included, the prevailing view in most of the world is that beer is 'just beer.'
Well, it's not. It's a remarkable beverage that may be brewed from any
number of assorted grains and can boast flavours from sweet to bitter,
chocolate to spice and dried leaf to ripe fruit. It can be seasoned with
coriander, cinnamon, allspice or any one of hundreds of herbs and spices, or it
can be fermented with whole fruit. It can even count among its ingredients
poultry and molluscs, and come out tasting great for it.
In short, beer is the most complicated beverage out there, far more
complex and finely nuanced than wine. Don't believe me? Here's proof:
Ten Reasons Beer is More Complicated Than Wine
1. The two main classes of wine are red and white. The two main classes of
beer are ale and lager, which are not only impossible to tell apart by sight
alone but sometimes damn hard to figure out even by taste.
2. Wine = grape juice + yeast. Beer = barley malt + hops + water + yeast +
(maybe) malted (or unmalted) wheat + (possibly) oats + (sometimes) other grains
+ (optional) spice or (perhaps) fruit + whatever the hell else the brewer feels
like throwing into the mix.
3. Wine gone sour is vinegar and unsuitable for drinking. Beer gone sour
is either vinegar and unsuitable for drinking or a classic and revered Belgian
style called lambic.
4. A chardonnay is so-named because it is made from chardonnay grapes. A
pale ale is sometimes called a pale ale simply because the marketing people say
it should be.
5. Wine tasters spit. Beer tasters have to swallow because aftertaste is a
vital part of a beer's flavour.
6. Classic wines hail from France, a big, easy-to-find European power.
Classic beers come from Belgium, a country so tiny and obscure than most
visitors don't even realize they have visited it until they've left.
7. Wine aficionados will nod thoughtfully if you refer to "cat pee" when
describing a wine. Beer aficionados will make you an object of scorn and
8. A particularly difficult wine will show great complexity and depth of
flavour. A hard to fathom beer, on the other hand, can be as sour as battery
acid, as smoky as a nightclub ashtray or so bitter and full of hops that it
threatens to strip the skin off your tongue, and those are its positive
9. The fruitiness in wine comes from fruit. The fruitiness in beer springs
10. The same beer will taste different whether in the bottle, can or on
tap. (Canned and draft wine may taste different too, but who wants to find
- posted 16 years ago