• 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.