HOME > Chowhound > Beer >


Beer for Wine Drinkers

Since they're discussing wine for beer drinkers over on the wine board, it seems only appropriate to talk about the converse. What beers would you offer a wine drinker?

I've offered Duchesse de Bourgogne to more than one wine drinker, and it amazed them.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. In a similar vein,
    I'd recommend a nice Cantillon Geuze. Sour but lighter in color than the Duchesse, similar to Champagne in some ways.

    Although I'm wondering about the idea of finding a beer that shares characteristics with wine. Maybe the idea is that the person doesn't like beer, but they don't want their beer to taste like wine, they just want a more accessible beer. In that case maybe offer them a belgian white or maybe a long trail blackberry wheat? Something well made but light??

    1 Reply
    1. re: deldredge

      I love wine and am not a big beer fan - when I've sipped my husband's beers, the ones I find tolerable are the pilsners - what I don't like are v. strong/yeasty flavors.

    2. I have offered lambics in champagne glasses and had wine snobs who hate beer ask me "what is this lovely sparkling wine?"

      1. You can't beat Belgian ales for astoundingly complex ranges of flavors, usually with more subdued hops which might be what some people don't like about beer. Try Duvel or Rochefort 10.

        I agree the most wine-like beers are lambics (Cantillon Kriek for instance, I am not talking about the sweet Lindemans stuff). The tartness, light body, ever changing development in the glass...wonderful...

        1. I had this for the first time but think it would be a great intro for a wine drinker, Russian River Temptation. It is aged in Oak barrels and is reminiscent of a Chardonay. This is a complex beer which i cannot wait to get again.

          1 Reply
          1. re: MVNYC

            Excellent beer from a fantastic brewery. Proves that more than just good wine comes from the region.

            Other good American brews for the wine drinker that I like are Allagash Interlude, Sixpoint Grand Crue and Cambridge Brewing Co.'s Tiger Bite.

          2. Sounds like lambics are the front runners.

            I would also include sour ales such as Monk's Cafe. Those offer some of the same complexities of a lambic but can be wildly different.

            1. I would not recommend sour ales such as Lambics, Flemish Reds and Geuzes to a wine drinker as a crossover beverage. Those are definitely acquired tastes and need reference points.

              I would start with maltier styles such as Belgian Strong Darks, Dubbels, Wee Heavies and Doppelbocks, at first.

              That's how I made the crossover from wine and then moved in to the hoppier sytles. Now double IPAs are my favorites but I had a tough time with them initially.

              I'm not a big fan of sour beers although certain of the styles I find interesting in small doses.

              1 Reply
              1. re: brentk

                I tend to disagree since most sparkling wines are very dry, the tart beers are very similar.

              2. I would offer Three Philosophers by Ommegang Brewery or St. Bernardus Abt. 12.

                1. I think what might be helpful for wine drinkers being introduced to beer is to try and think of lager as they would white wine and ale as they would red wine. Lager styles like pilsener and helles in particular rely on leanness, crispness, brightness, and an angular flavor profile much like say Loire Vallee Sauvignon Blanc or a Chablis. Where as ales tend to be fatter, smoother with more murky, shadowy flavor like say a Hermitage, Cote du Rhone or any number of red wines.

                  1 Reply
                  1. Orval might be a bit intense for someone who says they don't like beer...but if someone truly savors wine they should appreciiate the complexity of Orval. But even many beer lovers have a hard time with it! I just had Westmalle Tripel, a little more accessible and very good.

                      1. Dogfish Head Raisin D'Extra tastes like Amontillado Sherry. That will win a wino over to the malt side.... though at what cost - they might drink the beer am I'd miss out!

                        9 Replies
                        1. re: Brewnoser

                          yeah but you have to find a wine drinker who likes sherry...such as me...I am really intrigued by your comparison so I will have to try it. I will report back.

                          1. re: kenito799

                            I have served Smirnoff Twisted V - Raspberry to wine drinkers who would not touch a beer and they have enjoyed it. (Yes I know Smirnoff is a malt beverage, funny though it tastes more like soda then anything else).

                            1. re: PapaT

                              I don't think it's a malt beverage, I think it's a vodka-based alcopop, hence the Smirnoff brand.

                              [Oh, I just checked & you're right - sorry.]

                              1. re: frenetica

                                There is a difference between the Twisted V and the Ice brands. I've never had the Ice (I only do kosher) but the Twisted V's (at least the Raspberry, Green Apple and Mandarin Orange) say on the back that they are malt beverages.

                                I can't give you a link to the direct page as you need to log your b-day but its on the www.smirnoffice.com website.

                                1. re: PapaT

                                  I believe in some countries the alcopops contain spirits, but in the US they're almost always malt (i.e., beer)-based due to the tax being much higher on spirits (and wine). That said, many contain 'flavorings' that happen to contribute a substantial portion of the alcohol in the drink.

                          2. re: Brewnoser

                            I've had good results getting wine-afficianados (not snobs, an "I won't drink beer because it's a lesser beverage" type can't be helped) into belgian beers.

                            Some have already been mentioned (Rodenbach, Duchesse de Bourgone). If you're dealing with someone you really like, splurge on a Deus and talk about the methode Champagniose that it goes through. Gueze Girardin seems to work for white wine drinkers since it has some of the acidity they're used to but isn't as intese as a Cantillon. St. Fuillien Blonde has always seemed a good subtitute for Champagne to me. If you can get a bottle of Cantillon St. Lamvinus (and it will be expensive, $35 or more) it is brewed with Bordeaux grapes. I have a friend who's big into italian wines who is crazy about Abbaye de Rocs Grand Cru after I poured it for him.

                            I had a crazy beer at a beer fest this year called "Abbaye De Saint Bon Chien" from Switzerland that was aged in Barolo, Chardonnay, Port, Grappa and one other varietal casks and then all blended back together. Truly spectacular and very much like wine. But I have yet to see it retail and I'd imagine if I do it will put a big dent in my wallet.

                            All of these have provoked the "My God, THIS is BEER?!?" response.

                            1. re: Kevin B

                              B United imports three beers from Abbaye De Saint Bon Chien. They should be able to help you locate it at retail. http://www.bunitedint.com/collections...

                              1. re: Jim Dorsch

                                Thanks! I was told by my best local retailer that B.United allotted only 10 bottles for this market and they got two bottles only and maybe more this next year. The owners kept the two for themselves and I totally respect that. The beer is really something.

                                I did see it in a bar, 2 bottles only, at $60 which is way out of my league.

                              2. re: Kevin B

                                I just wanted to concur with your comments about the "I won't drink beer because it's a lesser beverage" types. I have a sister who is one and it's so obvious that it's a "life style" choice rather than a choice of personal taste. How anyone can enjoy coffee (black) and have no time for stout or porter is beyond me.

                            2. There are some very obvious answers:

                              1) Great barleywines... there are so many. Victory Old Horizontal rocks, Three Floyds Behemoth is fantastic, if you can find it. Anchor Foghorn is great.

                              2) World Wide Stout. This is about the strongest stout on the market at 18%? abv. It looks and pours like a port. Cover the bottle and have your wine drinking friends guess what "dessert wine" they are drinking. Guaranteed they will name all kinds of ports, sherries, etc. Then show them they're having a snifter of "beer"