"It takes a lot of beer to make great wine." Or so the old winemaking chestnut goes. These days, the inverse is becoming true, with wine making inroads into beer recipes themselves.
These beer-wine hybrids often start with a saison farmhouse or sour ale as a base recipe-something that already has a bit of heft to stand up to those grapes. Sometimes the beer is co-fermented with them at the outset; other times it'll get racked onto the fruit for extended fermentation and ageing. The results are wildly unique, sometimes odd and usually a delicious blurring of the lines.
Seek out the following bottles for your next cheese board.
Stillwater - Oude Bae (6.5% ABV)
A particularly successful Stillwater hybrid, Oude Bae is a sour amber ale aged on French oak with pinot noir grapes. Nicely tart and beautifully vinous, first sips reveal an appealing funk and richness atop a drinkable, tangy body. This one now comes in cans, making it the perfect grab for your next picnic.
Cantillon - Saint Lamvinus (5% ABV)
Brasserie Cantillon produces what's likely the most sought-after traditional Belgian lambic out there, but its Saint Lamvinus has a cult following all its own. (Beer nerds often insist a great lambic's ageing ability is akin to that of fine wine, so infusion with grapes is only logical.) Here, a blend of lambics are barrel-aged for more than a year with merlot grapes. It pours a brilliant burgundy hue, yielding intense fruit on the nose and oak on the palate.
Mikkeller - Riesling People (6.7% ABV)
Here's probably the most accessible beer-wine hybrid available right now: a new IPA brewed with riesling juice from Danish gypsy-brewing global power Mikkeller (soon opening its first New York brew-pub at Citi Field-marking its 32nd location worldwide). This hoppy brew starts tropical-fruity and finishes with a sweet blast of grape.
The Washington Post