The Best Wines for Beer Drinkers

The Best Wines for Beer Drinkers

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Jayme Henderson
Jul 2, 2015
(Image credit: Jayme Henderson)

We all have those friends who pigeonhole themselves into the beer-drinking category. Maybe they had a bad first wine experience, or perhaps they haven't even started to explore the world of wine yet. I say, "Why choose sides?"

Choosing a wine style similar to the style of beer you enjoy is a good way to make the transition. Finding a good wine match for a beer-lover is all about pairing weight, texture, and notes — like fruit, herbs, and earth.

As a beer drinker, opening yourself up to the world of wine increases your beverage tasting options by the thousands. And the same rule applies when the roles are reversed. I try to make myself open to new styles and flavor options of both wine and beer. While I love my farmhouse ales, I don't know what I'd do without Champagne.

Find your new favorite wine based on the following beer preferences:

If you love...

Sour Beers

Go with either a red or white Burgundy. The Pinot noirs and Chardonnays from this part of France share a similar flavor profile. They are similarly about hedonistic, earthy notes; boast a lively acidity; and are rich in bright, sour notes, derived from the limestone soil.

Bitter IPAs

Search for a red Rhône blend from Southern France, like a Côtes du Rhône or a Chateauneuf-du-Pape. These red wine blends are also medium to full in body and boast savory, herbal notes that easily appeal to the hops lover.

Rich, Bitter Porters

Look to Italy for a Nebbiolo or an Aglianico. Both of these red wine varieties sport floral, herbal aromas, but are also dry, rich in tannins, earthy, and complex, with bitter finishes.

Crisp Pilsners, Lagers, or Light Beers

Go with an un-oaked white wine, like Pinot Grigio, Arneis, or Grüner Veltliner. These wine varieties share the lighter-in-style beers' refreshing personality. These prime summertime sippers are similarly more sessionable than complex.

(Image credit: Jayme Henderson)

Funky, Wild Saisons

Hello, dry Chenin Blanc! This is one of my personal favorite beer styles; I love its wild, yeasty, and floral notes. For a similar wine experience, search out a Savennières, a lees-aged, dry Chenin Blanc from the Loire Valley of France.

Belgian-Style Wheat Beers

Go with a buttery California Chardonnay. Wheat beer drinkers will love Chardonnay's similarities: round, cozy, golden-hued, and creamy in texture. For a bubbly option, look for a richer-style Champagne that has seen extended aging on its lees (spent yeast cells).

Malty Pale Ales

Don't forget about Merlot. Velvety Merlot mimics the malty notes in a Pale Ale. A Pale Ale always seems to be the perfect middle ground on so many characteristics. Merlot is also right in the middle with balanced dryness, fruitiness, and weight.

Stouts

Pick up a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. The lovers of chocolate, oatmeal, and vanilla stouts will gravitate toward Cabernet's big fruits, richer texture, and roundness, due to its (usual) heavier oak influence. Especially choose a Cabernet from the valley floor.

Fruity Lambics

Look for Moscato d'Asti, off-dry Riesling, or Brachetto d'Acqui. For the apricot ale lovers, Moscato's bubbly, peachy notes are a perfect fit. If you're a fan of Frambois, you'll love Brachetto's effervescence and red raspberry flavor. Not so much a bubbly proponent? Try a Riesling from the Mosel region of Germany. These still, semi-sweet whites are laden with lively, ripe peach notes.

So, beer drinkers, which wines do you gravitate toward? Which wine was your crossover breakthrough? And if you need a specific wine recommendation, feel free to ask in the comments.

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