Beer vs. Wine Fridays

Written by: Charles Bamforth


cwbsmall.jpgCharles Bamforth, brewing scientist extraordinaire, has a little lesson in diversity. Wines, after all, have an enormous range of flavors packed in just one fruit. You can have smoke, berry, licorice, pear, leather, grass, cat-pee (Chenin blanc, people, look it up). But as far as beer goes, Charles thinks it has more to offer. Read on!

Wine goes with some foods, beer matches many more and not just hotdogs and pizza: think all types of Asian, Mexican ….British (hey, remember I am English). Tell me, too, which of these two excellent alcoholic beverages is more thirst-quenching and, well, less pretentious and more fun?

And what diversity in the world of beer!

Everything from colorless to black, from 0% to 26% alcohol and with a rich diversity of flavors from mainstream malt and hop notes, to everything from tomatoes (Michelada) to chilies; from pumpkins to chocolate; from lime to ginseng. So much more than red, white and pink.

How sad, though, that myths abound about the beer belly [Also, see here].  The reality is that beer is no different to any other food: if you take in more calories from it than you burn off, you will get fat. It’s the alcohol that is the main source of calories in any alcoholic beverage, so the calorie count in a glass of wine is pretty much the same as that in a light beer and many regular beers aren’t much higher.

Did you know?

Beer and bananas are the two richest sources of silica in the diet, so beer helps counter osteoporosis.

Wine and beer have enjoyed medicinal merit for thousands of years. An ancient Egyptian recipe for epilepsy was wine infused with the testicles of a donkey.

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About the Author: Charles Bamforth

Charles Bamforth is the author of Grape vs. Grain: A Historical, Technological, and Social Comparison of Wine and Beer (2008). He is Professor of Brewing and Malting and head of the food sciences department at University of Ca...

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