Every other week there is a hotly debated discussion about beer vs. wine. The beer advocates feel beer gets an unfair shake in terms of craftsmanship and are further looked down upon by wine drinkers. The wine advocates think it is more difficult to make wine and feel beer consumers are what the commercials portray them to be, uneducated drunkards with zero palate. Perhaps this attitude is not shared by the winemakers or workers in the industry. Peek at the beverage that any one of these folks have in hand during leisure time and you can be all-in that the drink of choice is beer.
As Mr. Asimov pointed out in his blog, The Pour, beer and wine need not be adversaries, merely complimentary choices. The horrific marketing ads for beer made without quality paint beer consumers as dolts, and after any real discussion with an avid beer lover, you will discover the same passion and knowledge as a wine geek who casually spouts out malolactic fermentation and indigenous yeasts. It begs the question, why the divorce? Why not a reconciliation? If one can have several courses during a meal, why not several different beverages? Why all the rules and animosity?
I like to start with Champagne, or beer or cocktail, then move towards wine, including sherry, ultimately returning to beer or champagne at the end.
Last week I had much to celebrate. I received I high rank in Aikido, I was a guest on a cable tv cooking show, and I attended the JETS game. My drink of choice is Champagne, but I opted for beer at the Burger Joint, located in the Parker Meridien Hotel (still my burger of choice in a burger mad city). The Sam Adams Boston Lager was on tap and in pristine form, full of body and frothy, perfect for the occasion, having just finished my Aikido exam. Later in the week I found myself at the underground (literally) pizza shop speakeasy at 6th and Avenue B, although I ordered a bottled beer that was much less satisfying. Finally on Sunday, I celebrated the Yankees victory while watching the JETS, reaching for old standbys Bass Ale and Guinness on tap, which after those two kickoff returns by Ted Ginn Jr.,drowned my sorrows appropriately.
I look at beer as a mini Champagne, a tiny split if you will, and the only decision you have to make is to choose a good one, or at least one to your liking, much like I prefer drinking vintage over non-vintage, except that the cost comparison is recession friendly. Six packs work just as well as a bottle of wine. Two people or four can share. At my favorite Cantonese place, Phoenix Garden, which has a BYOB policy, I often bring a six pack of lager, and then esoteric white wines, just to try different flavor combos and pairings, returning to beer throughout the meal. But there is no need to quarrel over which, I say choose both.
This week I will be heading at Minetta Tavern for a celebratory black belt meal. Will it be beer, Champagne, or cocktail to start? Maybe all three. The beauty is in the choice and my mood, no rules or arguments. It all fits. It’s all good. It’s all celebration.