Can’t decide whether to pair your dinner with beer or wine? Why not try beer and wine together? Blurring the line between beer and wine, these hybrid beverages taste fruity and complex. Some of these innovative beverages feature a variety of grapes in the mix, while others simply age their beer in wine barrels. The addition of the vine takes beer to a different level, infusing it with aromatics and nuances of flavor.
Keep your eyes out for beer-wine hybrids to start appearing at brew houses and in-the-know bars near you. In the meantime, seek out these tasty hybrids for an advance taster of the trend:
1. Lil’ Mikkel by Firestone Walker Brewing Company in Paso Robles, CA – Hailing from the heart of California’s Central Coast wine country, this beer-wine is a fruity brew with a taste and texture similar to Champagne. Chenin Black and Sauvignon Blanc grapes were added to barrels of Firestone Walker beer and then aged. Featuring a refined carbonation and nuances of pepper, clove, oak and passion fruit, this crisp beer-wine is a delicate pairing for seafood dishes and French fries.
2. Sixty-One by Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales in Rehoboth Beach, DE – Infused with Syrah, this IPA is hoppy and herbal, with a bittersweet symphony of fruit flavors and summer berries: raspberry, strawberry and blackberry. Complex and pungent, this beer-wine pairs beautifully with pork, sushi and fresh vegetables.
3. Cuvee de Castleton by Captain Lawrence Brewing Company in Elmsford, NY – Combining a rich golden ale with the skin, seeds and juice of the Muscat grape, this inspired beer is aged in oak wine barrels. This brewery also offers a Belgian-inspired wine-beer called Rosso E Marone. Wild, fruity and slightly sour, this tasty choice pairs well with fresh seafood: scallops, oysters and clams.
4. The Vine by Cascade Brewing Barrel House in Portland, OR – A Northwest-style sour ale, this bee-wine hybrid features a sweet grape finish. A combination of blond ale, wheat ale and pressed white grapes, this tart beverage is rich and slightly oaky. Pair it with creamy sauces, rich stews and cheese pizza.
5. Midas Touch by Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales in Rehoboth Beach, DE – One of the original hybrid beer-wines, this brew ups the ante with the addition of wildflower honey for a beer-wine-mead concoction. Brewed with Muscat grapes, saffron and barley, this intriguing blend was inspired by a 2,700 year-old beverage residue found in a Turkish tomb that could have been that of King Midas. Pair this chardonnay-like beer with broiled fish, chicken, curries and Asian cuisine.
6. Golden Canary from Block 15 Brewing Company in Corvallis, OR – This Oregon brewery is dedicated to experimenting with barrel-aged beer. Brews mature in wine barrels as well as rum, cognac, brandy and bourbon barrels too. Aged in wine barrels for up to three years, their Golden Canary beer is a sour, fermented ale that pairs perfectly with barbeque, rich casseroles and hearty soups and stews.
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