Our wine columnists chat about beer

Posted: June 07, 2012

BUZZ: Feeling left out this week, Marnie?

Marnie: Not particularly. Why?

Buzz: It's Philly Beer Week. That must really chafe you wine people.

Marnie: Not really, Buzz. Beer and wine are more alike than wine and spirits. Most wine lovers appreciate good beer, too.

Buzz: Really? I would think your friends would be too hoity-toity to be seen swilling beer. Let me guess — they drink only the fancy ales that come in bottles with a cork.

Marnie: Well, therwe is certainly appreciation in wine circles for well-crafted beers made with quality ingredients and for the most complex, "winelike" beers. Those Belgian-style, bottle-conditioned ales are stronger than the average lager and feature fruity-yeasty aromatics familiar to wine drinkers.

Buzz: The aromatics familiar to me are Old Crow and PBR.

Marnie: And wine-ophiles are just as likely to appreciate the crisp refreshment of classic German-style beers like the ones Pennsylvania is famous for, as long as they're made with quality ingredients.

Buzz: Wait, I thought we were famous for Gus the Groundhog.

Marnie: Possibly, but Pennsylvania leads the nation in German-style brewing thanks to our cultural heritage. Philly's craft-beer scene brims with German-style lagers and pilsners, weizens and bocks, while most others are more ale-centric, drawn primarily from British and Belgian styles.

Buzz: And that's a good thing for us because?

Marnie: Because the most popular beers on Earth are undeniably German-inspired. As folks discover that lagers aren't all mass-produced "swill," they're exploring other German styles that also prioritize refreshment over power, like kölsch and schwarzbier. Our region's unique mix of teutonic-tilting craft brewers like Victory and legacy lager houses like Yuengling makes us the leader of the pack.

Buzz: Not that there's anything wrong with swill. It got me through college. n

Marnie Old is Philadelphia's highest-profile sommelier. She has designed wine lists for restaurants like Parc and Bar Ferdinand. Her latest book, "Wine Secrets," is a collection of wine advice shared by top wine professionals. Marnie consults for the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board and is an adviser to the beverage trade. Check out her blog at sauceblog.marnieold.com. Buzz's musings are interpreted by Daily News City Editor Gar Joseph.

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