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A Wine Guy In Beer-Land

Gil Kulers

Gil Kulers

2010.04.01 Spaten Premium SMALL• $9/6-pack

• Two Thumbs Up

• The light amber-colored beer has hoppy, earthy aromas of fermenting sour dough bread. It has a clean, lightly yeast flavor with a touch of dry orange peel and just a hint of bitterness on the aftertaste. More than anything, this is a refreshing, quaffable brew.

Wine’s got an image problem. You mention wine and people reflexively roll their eyes and apologize for not knowing anything on the subject. It’s a daunting state of affairs for a guy who works as a wine columnist and wine educator to engage the average everyman (and everywoman) to the rewarding attributes of the grape.

Oh, how wish I was the beer guy. You mention beer to most people and they exclaim: “I love beer!” This drives me nuts! Like wine, beer is a broad and deep subject and its existence parallels human civilization. Can beer be mind-crampingly complex? I’ve had dinner with Bob Townsend, the AJC’s esteemed beer guy not too long ago. When Bob opens a beer and you ask a simple question (at least you thought it was a simple question), you’re apt to learn about Trappist monks, malt roasting techniques and particular yeast strains, which have an amazing impact on a beer’s flavor (who knew?!).

This summer, I attended a Beer vs. Wine Smackdown at the Taste of Atlanta Festival with Bob. Ostensibly, it was supposed to be scholarly debate on which libation is more food friendly. It devolved into something approaching a shouting match with wine being labeled as “snooty.” My reasoned counterpoints were summarily drowned out by the vocally insistent majority of beer supporters.

Now, I’m not advocating that beer become snootier, which it could in a blink of an eye due to its multitude of styles, makers and long history. I’m not even saying that wine is always the best choice in all dining scenarios. Sometimes the best wine selection for the food in question is a beer. All I want is to have some of the Oscar Madison friendliness rub off on the humble, misunderstood Felix Unger image of wine.

9 comments Add your comment

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Martin Ranch Winery, Gil Kulers. Gil Kulers said: Ever wonder what a beer looks like to a wine guy? This week's column. [...]


April 2nd, 2010
4:35 pm

Spaten? Really? This must be an April’s fool joke after all.

FM Fats

April 3rd, 2010
5:37 pm

Wine makers are farmers. Beer makers are scientists.


April 3rd, 2010
5:39 pm

I think this debate would have been best prefaced by Bud [Sh]ight Lime.

The General

April 3rd, 2010
6:13 pm

Life’s short. Drink what you like, enjoy it and screw anybody that mocks you for it.

norman ravitch

April 3rd, 2010
6:30 pm

Beer is good on a hot day, but it has neither an interesting taste nor class.
A glass of water would do as well.

Wine is fine with food but by itself it is not very tasty, especially red wine on a warm day. Only high quality and expensive Bourbon is a good drink.

Cloyd j. Bukoski

April 3rd, 2010
6:45 pm

Everybody’s in the Highlands has the best tap in the land…..


April 5th, 2010
2:49 pm

As usual, the beer column got all the comments. Just kidding (not shouting), Gil. But I did hope that a few wine lovers would jump on to give me some feedback.

Gil Kulers

April 8th, 2010
4:38 pm

I should write about beer more often. I enjoy all the comments! Thank you. And KP, what’s wrong with Spaten? Not that any of us should feel the need to defend whatever we like.