Craft Beer vs. Red Wine

More and more, drinkers are appreciating craft beer in the same way they would a fine wine (i.e. smelling, tasting and proper pouring). They’re expanding their palates to include full-flavored beers as an alternative to red wine – in cooking, food pairings and gifting. Craft beers, like red wine, are brewed with the finest quality ingredients, yet can be more accessible and approachable, making them a great pairing for many foods.

Below we have outlined two different suggestions for a craft beer versus red wine tasting experience you can try at home. With Thanksgiving coming up in a little over a week, we feel it’s a perfect time to see why craft beer deserves a seat at the dinner table.  We’re not the only ones either… take a look at what Black Book magazine has to say about craft beer pairing with “fancy foods.” 

For comparing how craft beer and red wine complement beef, check out our suggestions to get you started:

  • BEEF: Order a Samuel Adams Boston Lager Cut Tasting Package from our friends at Robinson’s Prime Reserve. You can enter the code SAMADAMS in step one of the checkout process for a 30% discount on your order.
  • RED WINE: Select a medium-to-full bodied Cabernet.  NYC Beer & Wine Sommelier, Gianni Cavicchi, suggests Oberon Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California, 2009.
  • CRAFT BEER: Pick up a 6-pack of Samuel Adams Boston Lager.

You may notice the upfront malt flavor in our Boston Lager matches the caramelized flavors of the meat, and its hoppy finish cuts through the richness to prepare the palate for the next bite. We enjoy Boston Lager’s lighter and less viscous appeal on the palate in comparison to the Cabernet, which creates a more delicate pairing and allows the flavors to echo the long finishes of both the meat and the beer.

Now move away from a savory piece of beef and try a sweeter dish like chocolate. To get you started with your comparison:

  • CHOCOLATE: Order TCHO PureNotes™ Dark Chocolate 70%, available online at TCHO.
  • RED WINE: Select a dry, medium-bodied Zinfandel. NYC Beer & Wine Sommelier, Gianni Cavicchi, suggests Bonterra Zinfandel from Mendocino County, California, 2009.
  • CRAFT BEER: Stick with our Samuel Adams Boston Lager.

When pairing chocolate and beer, rich sweet malt flavors are your friend. It’s this flavor, along with a subtle bitterness from the Noble Hops, that makes  Boston Lager a great pairing for chocolate. Beers carbonation can also lighten heavier chocolates and cleanses the palate between bites. Dark chocolate’s intense flavor can actually overpower wine, creating a lack of balance with wine’s acidity.

Where do you stand on craft beer vs. wine for special food pairings like beef and chocolate?  

  • Camptrader

    I have to say that I prefer Boston Ale with beef much more than Boston lager.

    Even though I consider myself a Beer Guy, I prefer Cabernet Sauvignon with chocolate.

  • Taylor Davis

    This makes me think of the Cicerone Program. The idea is to give the server a base of knowledge similar to a Sommelier so the server can properly pair beer with food.

    Im taking a course at a festival in January. Hope to get some good knowledge out of it!