Discerning Noses Want to Know
Microbreweries are not going away soon. Period. Craft beer brewers & beer aficionados have finally stood up, and are taking notice. Craft beer has officially become the new wine. What?? How can that be?
Unless you are one of the very few people whom have chosen to opt out of the Social Media scene, this very well could be news to you. Wine is “where it’s at,” and it’s everywhere. From clever Wine meme’s to pictures snapped at a wine tasting party, wine has become a social stain that isn’t going away.
Why is wine so popular?
Depending on whom you are talking to, there are multiple reasons why wine has become so increasingly popular over the last decade. Many say it is because of the health benefits. Some simply enjoy the taste. To get to the bottom of this grape mystery, we have scoured the web looking for answers.
This is what we have discovered:
- Variety. People like choices. Do I feel like a dry or sweet? Am I feeling white, red, burgundy or rose? How about a Merlot, a Pinot Noir or Grigio, Chardonnay, Cabernet, Pinot Grigio, Moscato, Riesling. Sauvignon Blanc, and so on…AND so on. There are almost 200 types of wine by taste, style and region.
- The labels. Just like a book, many wines are purchased simply because we like the label. With over 80,000 wine labels on the market, this is not surprising.
- Scent-sational. Go ahead. Forget everything your mother told you about dinner table eticacy. If 1001 aromas isn’t enough to convince you that putting your nose in your wine glass is perfectly acceptable, I really don’t know what is. One of the most crucial parts of wine tasting starts with the nose. It is 100% encouraged. Wine is sexy, complex and emotional. An aroma can trigger a memory, create a memory and enhance your past. These are what I fondly refer to as a “scent memory.” Astonishing but true, a truly educated and experienced nose can actually identify a wine’s origin, age and how it was produced. Mmmmmmmmmm…..
- Food pairing. If you search Amazon for books about wine pairing, you will find nearly 300 books dedicated to the art of wine and food pairing. Amazing. Cooking with wine? Don’t even get me started.
- Re-gifting. When has it ever been acceptable, or even encouraged, to “re-gift.” If your grandmother is anything like my grandmother, if you re-gift – someone will know, and you WILL be caught. Social suicide. BUT if you ask my grandmother about re-gifting wine, heck…there will ALWAYS be room at her table for you! (Just make sure it isn’t an aged bottle of Sutter Home…sorry Sutter Home.)
Microbrews & Craft Beer. Wine’s Cooler Cousin.
Along came a craft beer cider, and sat down beside her.
Yes. I’ve said it.
I’ve had my nose stuffed in a wine glass. Sometimes so far in, after a few to many inhalation sessions, that I actually sniffed and tasted simultaneously.
My little brother, a very accomplished and esteemed chef and food scientist in Greeley, Colorado, very much enjoys taking me to wine tasting gatherings….mostly so he can make fun of me. This was until about 6 years ago. Although he has always been a beer drinker, Colorado seems to have made him into quite the craft beer and microbrew fanatic. Heck, it isn’t hard when you live in a state that boasts over 150 breweries and brewpubs and is home to 25 fairly well-known breweries. Four of my favorites being Odell Brewery, Avery Brewery, Left Hand Brewing Company, and Breckenridge Brewery.
In Dumb and Dumber, Lloyd refers to Aspen, Colorado as “a place where the beer flows like wine”.
Midwestern pride. For those of us that reside in the midwestern region, I think we can all agree that wine is notoriously better if it is from California. This is not to say that good wine can’t be found in the midwest, because it most certainly can be. Historically, some of the best wines can be found in California, Germany, Italy, Chile, Portugal, Spain, Argentina and Australia. Great microbrews and microbreweries can be found anywhere! Beer brewers do not have to rely on soil and rainfall. Grain Malts, Malt Extract, Hops , Beer Yeast, Sugars, Flavorings, Brewing Salts, Finings, Nutrients, Etc. PLUS talent, experience, equipment and imagination is really all you need! No plantation needed.
- Variety. You already learned about Wine variety, now how about beer variety. This will blow your mind.
- Beer Types: (2) Ales, Lagers, Stouts, Porters, Malt.
- Beer Styles: Nearly 100 (not including subcategories of each style.)
- Colors:Very light, Straw, Pale, Gold, Light Amber, Medium Amber, Copper / Garnet, Light Brown, Brown, Reddish Brown, Chestnut Brown, Dark Brown, Very Dark, Black.
- Labels. Speaking of labels. There are more than 10,000 craft breweries worldwide. Let’s just say that each brewery has 5 year-round brews. That is 50,000 labels. Sorry Wine peps, but in my opinion…brew labels are better. Have you checked out Prairie Artisan Ales or The Flying Dog? Drool.
- We’ve grown up. Girls in bikinis, talking frogs, burping contests, keg stands….once you’ve done it, it’s time to get-out and step-it-up. Watered down American lagers are a thing of the past. Don’t get me wrong, a cold PDR on a hot day is always acceptable and 100% satisfying, but at some time in your life – your palate will scream for flavor and some complexity.
- Craft Beer Festivals. When craft beer drinkers get together for a “tasting session,” their motto is Go Big or Go Home. Imagine this. Thousands of your best friends getting together and sniffing, sipping and sharing. Sure, craft beer drinkers don’t mind gathering at their favorite microbrewery and sampling a few brews but the ultimate craft beer experience really happens at the festivals. For instance, this weekend we attended the Boulevardia Beer Festival in Kansas City, MO. There were nearly 50 featured breweries, from all corners of the nation, lined up and ready to pour you one of their featured brews. If you haven’t yet experienced a local beer festival, do yourself a favor….
To be fair, I have only listed 5 reasons why Microbreweries, Microbrews, and Craft Beers are here to stay IN A MAJOR WAY. Make room Wino’s, there’s a new brew in town! 🙂
PS: I still love you Wine.