Tomorrow is Valentines Day, one of the most useless and overrated holidays that plagues society every year (in MY personal opinion). But then again, I am anti most holidays. Not too mention, I loathe romance. And the color pink.
If you decide that you must partake in this “unimaginative, consumerist-oriented and entirely arbitrary, manipulative & shallow interpretation of romance” day … please do me one favor: BE ORIGINAL.
Roses, diamonds, chocolate & champagne are sooooo overused it makes me want to puke.
Although I am a wine enthusiast and aspiring sommelier, the unconventionalist in me needs to steer society away from toasting with champagne on “singles awareness day.”
If you really want to impress your Valentine, pop open a bottle of brew. Trust me on this one – it will work on both chicks and dudes alike.
Naturally, my go to beers on special occasions are lambics (and other “wild yeast beers”). In my opinion, gueuzes (a type of lambic) make the best substitute for champagne. And for a good reason.
Gueuze is a blend of young and old lambics. As with champagne, gueuze undergoes a second fermentation in the bottle. If you love the ceremonial uncorking presentation and the “special pop” that accompanies champagne, have no fear. Gueuze is served in champagne bottles – cork and all.
Unlike most beers, gueuzes are produced with aged hops. The combination of wild yeast and aged hops yields a dry, cidery, must, sour, acetic acid & lactic acid flavor. Mmmm … dreamy.
Here are a list of my personal favorite gueuzes, in no particular order:
Okay, so I understand that not everyone enjoys gueuzes as much as I do. Fair enough. To each their own.
BUT BEFORE YOU GO BACK TO THE CHAMPAGNE – STOP. There are still other options. Let us visit the fruit lambics, shall we?
Now I know from LOTS of experience that some people (cough *women* cough) think that all beer is heinous and getting them to drink one is like trying to give a cat a bath – lots of hissing, spitting and clawing with nails.
However, I have found that many beer haters can be converted with fruit lambics. (Even my very own SISTER … a chick who drinks one alcoholic beverage a year … enjoys the flavor of fruit lambics!)
Fruit lambics are exactly as they sound – lambics with fruit added. Typically, whole fruit is added after the spontaneous fermentation. In some cases, fruit flavoring is used (usually by American brewers trying to mimic the Belgian style).
The most common flavors include: sour cherry (kriek), raspberry (framboise), peach (pêche), blackcurrant (cassis), grape (druif) and strawberry (aardbei). My personal favorite, without a doubt, is Kriek.
Here is a list of fruit lambics that I particularly enjoy:
Still not convinced to forgo the champagne in favor of beer? HOLD UP. STOP RIGHT THERE.
It is time to take out the big guns … Allow me to introduce you to my friend DeuS.
Ahhhh yes. DeuS, the REAL champagne of beers. And this is NOT an over-statement.
DeuS is brewed by Brouwerij Bosteels in “one of the newest and most interesting styles of beer”: Bière de Champagne. Essentially, the only thing that separates it from champagne is the ingredients.
DeuS is initially brewed in Belgium, where it undergoes double fermentation (the second occurs within the bottle). It is then sent to France, where champagne makers add champagne yeast for a third fermentation. DeuS spends a long fermentation period in France where (like champagne) it is slowly turned each day in a process called riddling. Eventually the yeast collects in the neck of the bottle, which is frozen, and the yeast is expelled. (Also known as the “methode de champenoise” process of removing yeast from the bottle.)
The price tag of DeuS reflects the lengthy and complicated process of producing this beer. At around $30 bottle, DeuS is a beer for the big ballers. But as with a good bottle of champagne, it is a worthy investment. And you have my word on it. In fact, I will even give you my scouts honor.
And whether you chose a gueuze, a fruit lambic, DeuS or all of the above … take my suggestion and “class” it up with a flute glass. It will have you saying “champagne schmampagne” in no time. And before you know it, all of your holidays will be celebrated with a beer!
And regardless of how and why you celebrate it, Happy Valentines Day. Cheers!