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He Said Beer, She Said Wine

by Sam Calagione, Marnie Old
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Product Details

  • Publisher: DK Publishing
  • Publishing date: 15/06/2009
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 9780756654498
  • ISBN: 0756654491

Synopsis

He Said Beer, She Said Wine is the first fully illustrated book on the market to give in-depth instruction on how to successfully pair both beer and wine with a wide variety of foods. Co-authored by Marnie Old, an esteemed sommelier, and Sam Calagione, a successful brewmaster, He Said Beer, She Said Wine teaches you everything you need to know to get the best out of your beverages, with food or without. Each author divulges the secrets of their respective trades, using clear, easy-to-understand language and, of course, a little good-natured banter to keep things lively. The book is full of fantastic tips and tricks, specific beer and wine recommendations, and interactive elements to help you identify your preferences along the way. So, from cheese to dessert, you'll always know what drinks to serve for sublime flavor combinations.

Conversation with Sam Calagione & Marnie Old
Authors of He Said Beer, She Said Wine

In your book, it seems like this beer vs. wine battle has been going on between you for quite some time. How did it all begin?

MARNIE: Sam and I first met when we were doing trade tastings. We got to talking and found we didn’t quite see eye-to-eye about which beverage was the best choice to partner with great food. We started playing around with arguing about which was better, and at a certain point decided we needed to take it to the public to settle the question. We began a series of dinners where our guests would enjoy a wine and a beer with the same course and cast a ballot to decide which partnered better. We called these dinners "Beer is from Mars, Wine is from Venus," and they were tremendously popular.

SAM: I think it’s indicative of how close the worlds of beer and wine really are in the context of food, because every single night the winner was decided by a single course. And in every situation we had beer people voting for wine, and wine people voting for beer. We’re passionate about championing our respective beverage of choice, but one of our main goals is to make beer people more comfortable choosing wines, and wine people more comfortable understanding beer. And, to get both sides more comfortable understanding the breadth of choices within the two worlds.

In He Said Beer, She Said Wine, you give great tips for making beer and wine choices to go with everything from pizza to crème brulee. Can you offer some foolproof advice for choosing a bottle at our next meal?

MARNIE: The first tip is that if you’re enjoying it, it’s good. There’s a lot of discomfort, especially with wine, about ordering the "right" thing. That’s really not so important. It’s about doing what you enjoy. I couldn’t tell you whether you prefer key lime pie over chocolate cake, and yet people think that there’s a right choice and a wrong choice with wine. It’s more about what’s happening that day. What’s your mood? Is it summer or winter? Is it a special occasion, or is it a relaxed barbeque in the back yard? It’s better to think about wine as sauce on the side. We’d never put the same sauce on everything we eat, everyday. The same is true with beverages.

Sam, you mentioned that at the outset you were surprised to discover how much beer and wine actually have in common. How does beer compare to wine?

SAM: The major difference, of course, is that beer is better than wine. But, the simplest comparison would be to say that lagers are more like white wines, in that they’re more mellow and refined, and ales are more like red wines, in that they’re more robust and intense.

Does the rule of drinking white wine with seafood and red wine with red meat still apply?

MARNIE: Something we all have tremendously good instincts for is the idea of putting lighter, more delicate and more subtly flavored beverages with lighter, more delicate food. It’s also the first decision that any sommelier makes in pairing for a particular dinner. To say that as a hard and fast rule white wine should be paired with white meat and red wine with red meats is something that I think needs to be revisited. It’s a sound guideline, based in science and experience; however, it is possible to drink very well pairing white wines with red meats and red wines with fish. That said, there is a fundamental difference in the fermentation process that leads this pattern to be more or less true most of the time. Tannin, a property found in red wine, is something we feel on the palate as a tacky, drying sensation. That can lead to a bit of a challenge when pairing with low-fat dishes and seafood.

What makes cheese such a great beverage partner?

MARNIE: Most wines aren’t designed to impress you on the first sip. They’re designed to be food partners, to have their acidity softened by salt, and to have their intensity and tannin softened by fat. Cheese is dominated flavor-wise by fat and salt, the exact two properties that are needed to balance out wine.

SAM: As Marnie said, many wines weren’t designed to taste good on their first sip. On the other hand, beer is meant to taste great on the first sip, the second sip and the third pint. But, that doesn’t mean that it’s any less food-friendly. And, cheese is a great place to start. The carbonation in beer acts as an exfoliant. It clears the palate between bites, whereas wine without carbonation tends to bounce off the cheese and go down your throat without intermingling. The overlap in the world of cheese and beer is also really obvious. Wonderful beer producers like Chimay in Belgium make their own in-house cheese, and Maytag blue cheese is made by the Maytag family, who own the pioneering microbrewery Anchor in San Francisco.

Are there any foods that are notoriously difficult to pair with beverages?

MARNIE: Artichokes are challenging vegetables for the sommelier to work with. They’re also the darling of every chef from here to Hawaii. There’s a compound in artichokes that confuses taste buds into perceiving all flavor sensations as sweet. After you eat them, everything else tastes saccharine. There’s no question that wines don’t taste true to their real flavors when dealing with artichokes in high quantities. Certain wine styles can handle this better than others, though. Light-bodied, un-oaked white wines like Grüner Veltliner from Austria work particularly well.

SAM: I think it’s ironic that wine has all these Achilles heels, like artichokes and asparagus. There’s really no problem with these foods when it comes to beer. I’d pair artichokes with a dark, malt beer like a milk stout or porter. While artichokes don’t tend to work very well with the vegetal components of hoppy beers like pilsners or I.P.A.s, those beers would work well with asparagus.


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  • Going beyond just suggestions to consider the history and culture of beer and wine pairings with food
    From Amazon

    He Said Beer, She Said Wine considers the concurrent history of beer and wine, how each is paired with different dishes, and offers suggestions for specific pairings with foods, including recipes and menus alike. From antiquated rules and why they fail to work with today's different or fresh ingredients to sidebars of wine and beer characteristics and why they work, this is a fine addition to any food and wine collection, going beyond just suggestions to consider the history and culture of beer and wine pairings with food.

  • A simple textbook for beer and wine
    From Amazon

    The concept is interesting. The idea of debating which beverage pairs better with different types of food is neat. However, some of the food chemistry is blatantly incorrect. Someone please tell Marnie that all salts are not bases and table salt NaCl is neutral. The "witty repartee" tends to be more entertainment than informative. I do believe Calagione states his arguments better and with less attitude. BTW: In my house, "She" drinks beer.

  • Food Pairing Anyone Can Understand AND Enjoy!
    From Amazon

    Kudos to Marnie & Sam on penning a very fun read! I have crossed paths with Marnie professionally but never met Sam or tasted any of his beers. I am now eager to try all of his beers plus the numerous others that he recommends! As a wine educator I am always looking for books that deliver good information in a way that captures the readers. This is my new favorite and I will recommend it to all of my students and everyone else! Their food pairing principles are sound and they have delivered it in an original way and without even a hint of pretention. Way to go! David Glancy Master Sommelier

  • Taste of Heaven
    From Amazon

    If you are new to beer and wine food pairing, this is the book for you! It truly helps you appreciate the science of beer, wine, and food! Check out my posting at http://rustybeach.com/2008/11/taste-of-heaven/. Cheers!

  • Beverage lessons for us mere mortals
    From Amazon

    Accessible, an enjoyable read, and very informative. Wine snobs may sniff, but this book is aimed at those of us who enjoy wine and beer and know just enough to get us in trouble. We forget that only in recent years (and mostly in the US) has wine taken on an elitist air of sorts; for generations it has been an everyday beverage around the world, and this book makes you feel that both beer and wine deserve more frequent and prominent places at your table.

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