Thursday, June 07, 2007

Beer vs. Wine

So I heard about this article at the Slate website, saying that wine has become more popular than beer. It's a decent article, but I think that they go waaaay further than necessary to explain why wine has grown more popular than beer.

You wanna know why people in America are starting to like wine more than beer? My friend, let me freely give you some opinions:

1) Ladies prefer wine to beer. As a child, I even thought of beer as a man's drink, I didn't think women liked beer. Plus, I can give you endless stories about women who don't really like beer. For the most part, I know two women that like dark or darker beers. Most of the rest prefer light, or fruity beers. My favorite personal experience occurred during a Christmas vacation in Germany.

While in college, my folks moved back to Germany, and my main homie, P-Mart, came over for a visit. We loaded up on what was to be a failed bus trip to southern Germany to see the Neuschwanstien castle and other sites where we paused to have a beer at the world-famous Hofbraeuhaus in Munich, BEER CAPITAL OF THE WORLD (Okay, actually, I think Plzen, Czechloslovakia is the real beer capital of the world, but at this particular time in my life, this is how I referred to Munich. And I literally mean it. "Dad, how far are we from Munich, BEER CAPITAL OF THE WORLD?" "Did you spend the weekend in Munich, BEER CAPITAL OF THE WORLD?"). We were drinking a beer around 10 in the morning out of a HUGE beer stein. A G.I. and his girlfriend/wife was sitting across from us and we were having some decent conversation. We started discussing beer, and the woman says, "I don't really care for German beer, I don't think it's very good."

Now folks, I'm not a religious man, but I know blasphemy when I hear it.

I learned to appreciate and drink beer in Germany, and as far as I'm concerned, after the Czechs, the Germans make the best beer in the world. I then calmly asked this young woman, who was wearing glasses and appeared to have a blond permanent wave, "What do you consider good beer?"

"Bud Light."

P-Mart and I were beside ourselves. I do believe we ridiculed her for a solid ten minutes.

2) They're not the only ones who like wine. Men do, too, and with the invention of the "wine refrigerator", which appeals to men's (not man's, but MEN's) want of new gadgets, it's no wonder wine has grown. Do you know how many times I've walked by one of these at my local Costco and thought to myself, "I could use one of those?" Even more intriguing to me is the kegerator. I would kill to have one of these in my basement. But if I had one, I'd drink way too much beer and it would make me want to finish the basement around it.

3) The majority of American beer SUCKS. Sure, there are some great American breweries out there. Leinenkugel's and Sam Adams are two of my favorite "big" breweries. The little ones are good, too, especially Three Floyd's. Lately, though, I have to shake my head when I see a Lite beer commercial. They are going on and on about how they won the 2006 Gold Medal in the World Beer Cup Best American-Style Light Lager. I looked up "American-Style Light Lager" in a beer dictionary I have. There was a one word definition for this: "Piss." The commercials show how proud they are for winning an award for being a shitty beer. This would be like me being proud that Iowa State advanced to the final four of the N.I.T. basketball tournament. If they would have won, they would have been the 65th best college basketball team in America. Who Cares? Furthermore, the ads that they've shown in the past where they are attacking Bud Light are baffling. I say to myself, "Wow, one can of piss is actually claiming to be better than another can of piss. Who cares?"

4) The cost of wine has come down the past few years. Beleive it or not, most people still want to get their drink on at the lowest possible cost. People are willing to give different styles of wine a try to see what it is that they like. Unfortunately, my wife's Aunt from upstate New York apparently thinks we like these ungodly sweet table wines because she brings us at least 4 bottles whenever she visits. Everyone's got their price limit. Me, I try to stay well below $15 for a bottle. I can get two decent six packs of beer for under $15. Lately, you can go to Costco and get cool things like a case of Pilsner Urquell or a Sam Adams Summer Sampler case for around $20. I can maybe get 4 glasses of wine out of a bottle, so if I spend $15, it better be pret-ty good. Otherwise, I got 3 words for ya: "Three buck Chuck."

For the record, here are some of my favorite wines and beer:

Toasted Head Cabernet Sauvignon
Any brand Pinot Grigio
Charles Shaw Merlot

Three Floyd's Gumballhead Wheat
Pilsner Urquell

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Anonymous adam said...

A one-word addition to the reasons why wine has increased in popularity of late: Sideways

7:35 AM

Blogger Jez said...

Yeah, that's another one. They said it has increased in the last 10 years though, and "Sideways" came out just a couple years ago. I'm thinking that "Sideways" is actually a byproduct of the wine revolution...

Oh, and thanks for the photo. Best photo of Miller Lite. Evah.

5:43 PM

Anonymous flygrrl said...

Art imitates life imitates art... yes.

So am I one of the women you know who actually likes dark beer? Because I actually do like dark beer. In Germany, even the crappy local pils is still light years ahead of American beer...

I find it hard to name favorites. I can't quite say I love Guiness; I used to get black and tans all the time with Newcastle and Bass; hope that isn't blasphemous. A local brewery in Bloomington made a Java Porter that was to die for.

And I agree with you on the Toasted Head. They make some really good wine. My brother worked under a world-class sommolier when he was waiting tables in Philly, so he now knows wine from wine. He gave us a great bottle of Italian something or other for Christmas... you can get good wine cheap these days, but I'd say you still have to spend the bucks for really great wine.

10:10 PM

Blogger Jez said...

My brother worked under a world-class sommolier

I heard Somalia sucks. They even made a movie about it where a bunch of guys in a helicopter got ambushed. As far as Africa goes, I'm staying out of it...

Yes, you and my good old college BFF Amy Weber are the two women who enjoy a dark beer. When I decide to open one of them Dark Lords, you and Adam are on the top of my list to bring over and try.

6:50 AM

Anonymous flygrrl said...


[That's a Homer Simpson drooling noise].

There are definite perks to having led a life of being "one of the guys."

9:32 PM


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