6 Beer Styles to Win Over Wine Consumers

3/25/2019

 

Let’s set the stage. You’re working at one of the city’s top craft beer bars when a customer walks in and mentions that they don’t like beer, just wine.

How do you reply?

If you’re anything like Therese Rednor, you see it as a challenge—and an opportunity—to bring a wine consumer over to Team Beer.

“Whenever I do an education class on beer—whether it’s with a restaurant or a private group—one of my first questions is ‘Who here likes beer?’” said Rednor, Breakthru Beverage Colorado’s Senior Manager, Beer. “Invariably, someone will say they don’t drink beer. That person becomes my barometer. If, by the end of the class, I have that person saying ‘Oh, this is my favorite one!’, well, I know I’ve done my job.”

Should the scenario above ever happen to you, we want you to feel both prepared and confident to suggest a beer or two to your traditionally wine-drinking customer. After all, wine consumers already have something in common with beer drinkers. They’re both big fans of flavor.

“Wine drinkers love flavor,” Rednor said. “Many styles of beer have layered, wonderful and nuanced flavors, but with 158 styles of beer described by the Brewer’s Association Style Guidelines, where do you start?”

To help get you there, we’ve asked Rednor for a little guidance on how to suggest the perfect beers based on your customer’s wine preferences.

 

If Your Customer Enjoys White Wine

 

Belgian Tripel

Therese Rednor: The Belgian Tripel is music on your tongue. The high carbonation delivers a sensational, tingly mouthfeel and allows the lemon peel, peach, orange, pear, banana and apple flavors to shine.  You’ll discover a white pepper spice from the yeast as well. Typically, tripels will deliver the alcohol punch that is close to wine as well, with most clocking in around 9 percent ABV.

Hefeweizen or Belgian Style Witbier

Is there anything more beautiful than a well-poured hefeweizen, with its rich yellow-gold color, opaque body and cloudy head? The silky mouthfeel, the banana/clove flavor and aroma weave into your senses, bringing back not-so-distant memories of warm weather and patios. You’ll find notes of bubblegum or apples hiding among the layers. 

The Belgian Witbier is similar, but with subtle differences including hints of coriander and orange peel, as well as freshly cut lemon and peach.

 

If Your Customer Enjoys Red Wine

 

Farmhouse Saison

The saison packs a punch with a variety of flavors—peppery, grapefruit, citrus fruit and stone fruit. It is slightly funky and a little bit tart. It is, by far, one of the absolute best beers to pair with foods. It is so nuanced and balanced that it works with everything from grilled meats at dinner to a croque monsieur at brunch.  

Lambics

These wonderful spontaneously fermented ales from the Seine region in Belgium will surprise just about any wine lover. They are fruit forward in the most beautifully complex ways.

Enjoy the raspberry fruit that comes through on a syrah? Try a framboise. Enjoy the bright cherry and strawberry that shows in pinot noir?  Try strawberry or Kriek (which means cherry) Lambic. Lambics work amazingly well with desserts, so experiment with different pairings and have fun!

 

If Your Customer Enjoys Rosé

 

Hybrid Beer/Wine Styles

Breweries today are incredibly innovative with their beers, and as a result, we’ve seen more than a few beer/wine hybrids come into the market. A beer that is co-fermented with chardonnay grapes and a few other varieties makes for a refreshing ale that offers the same bright and clean qualities of a classic French rosé.

 

If Your Customer Enjoys Champagne

 

Brut IPA

What? An IPA? Hear us out on this one. The Brut IPA is unlike traditional hop-forward IPAs in that the bittering hops are not perceptible on the tongue, but the aromatic hops are front and center in the beer’s aroma. This style of IPA is tropical in flavor with notes of mango, guava and passionfruit. It also finishes dry and clean, just like a fantastic bottle of Champagne or prosecco!

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