Recently a friend of mine and fellow blogger, Matt McGinnis (@mattmcginnis) posted a piece on the differences between wine-lovers and beer-lovers. If your rating of how good a piece is has anything to do with how riled up it got you, his post must have been good, because I kept getting riled up.
The concept that beer and wine drinkers are two totally different sets of people didn’t really sit well with me. I love beer. I love wine. I love a good cocktail. So much of what I choose to drink is environmental, and I’m not sure I have a true preference. Are we really defined by our choice? Nature, or nurture? Is your preference based on your education, your socio-economic strata, red state or blue state? I’m just not convinced.
Beer seems to be a “masculine” drink, and it’s certainly marketed to men, with bro-mance style commercials filled with sports, hot babes and barbeques. But I know plenty of women who drink beer. They may choose it because they’re at a tailgate party, because they’re having pizza, or because it’s damn hot outside and a beer sounds great. I personally love beer in the winter, because a nice dark stout goes great with winter food. A tall, refreshing rice beer is my go-to choice for sushi – I don’t care for sake and wine sounds awful with sushi, so you’ll always find me with a Kirin or a Sapporo. I also like a refreshing Hefe Weitzen, garnished with fruit, in the heat of summer, although beer often sounds heavy when I’m watching my weight. Does that make me a beer-lover or only a beer dabbler?
Wine almost always sounds good to me, so you could argue that I’m a wine-lover. Rich red wines in the winter with hearty winter stews and roasts… or a super-crisp white on a scorching hot day. A slightly sweeter white with spicy Chinese or Thai food (but, as I said above, never with sushi). Champagne or prosecco is a great start to anything, and usually the perfect finish, as well. And I know lots of women who drink wine, but I also know a ton of burly dudes who love a big, spicy red wine. They don’t give a damn about terroir or “barnyard overtones” – they like a big wine with their steaks or pasta, and they’ll just go for it.
So what about those who prefer a cocktail? While beer pairs great with Mexican food, I’m more likely to choose a margarita. And a gin and tonic is the perfectly civilized summer cocktail. My brother loves his holiday bloody marys – he always comes over with his own cooler full of spices and add-ins.
I’m just not sure it’s that easy to categorize people by their beverage of choice. Sure, there are people who fit the stereotype (that’s why stereotypes exist, after all), but I’ll argue that environment plays a huge part in all of our libation choices. One last example: I’d never order a dirty banana unless I was at an all-inclusive resort in the Bahamas… but they’re perfect, in that environment. 😉