Wine Tasting Ultimately Leads to Beer. #BrewedAwakening
There is a saying in the wine industry that “It takes a lot of beer to make great wine.” This is a testament to the fact that many wine folks end their hard day of wine work with a nice cold beer (or three). It’s a pleasant sentiment, and mostly true, but I’d like to add my own saying onto this wise wine maxim: “It takes a beer to properly end a day of great wine.”
Whether I am judging a wine competition where we examine 70-100 samples in a day, or I’m on a wine trip (such as I am now, in the Napa Valley, California) where we visit various wineries and sample a bunch of wines over a full day, I always follow up the wine with a good beer. In fact I start thinking about it partway through the experience. After each flight of wine, I’m thinking: “Pretty soon I’ll be outside drinking a good beer.” It helps you get through the day. Wine judging is mentally exhausting, and physically exhausting for your palate.
I’m staying in Napa this week, so one of the first things I did was buy a six pack of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, a classic west coast style, hoppy pale ale. It’s readily available at grocery stores here. I bought the 6-pack for under $9 US, and enjoyed one each day of the trip on our afternoon break. It is citrus laden and refreshing, and not too bitter – it’s balanced. I drink one after our winery visits are through.
Yesterday, after an epic day of touring and tasting at Burgess Cellars, I headed to Downtown Joe’s, an old school brewpub (est. 1988 as Willit’s Brewery) along the river in Napa. It is an old school bar and was 100% hipster free yesterday, possibly because there were no barrel aged sours or milkshake IPAs on offer.
I had a good old fashioned Golden Ribbon Pale Ale, a standard West Coast Pale, and it was exactly what I needed, balanced and thirst quenching.
I sat outside in 100 degree weather watching ducks in the river. For my second beer I tried their Tail Waggin’ West Coast Bitter, which they describe as “an overly hopped amber ale.” I laughed when I saw that. It was 65 IBUs and bitter beyond the refreshment boundary. It’s great when breweries understand their own beer.
I should have stopped at one. When you are drinking a good beer to celebrate a day of great wine, sometime’s one is all you need.