Posts Tagged ‘beer vs. wine’

It is official. I have decided to journey into territory that only a few have entered — and even fewer have survived.


I am trespassing into NO MAN’S LAND. And instead of wearing camouflage and hiding in the bushes, I will be parading myself in bright neon colors and flashy sequins.


Now. I know you must have some questions for me like … 1. Where is no man’s land 2. Why am I going there & 3. Why I am drawing so much attention to myself for doing so (the bright colors and flashy sequins thing)?

Depending on how long you have been following my blog and whether or not you know me as a person (in real life or on Twitter), you might be aware that in addition to being a beer connoisseur — I am also a wine geek. In fact, I am a professional of both. (Essentially, I am a slave of the restaurant industry — and my source of income greatly depends on my ability to sell wine, beer & food. Luckily, I am ridiculously passionate and very well educated about these topics.)

wine food

The truth is, my love for beer stemmed from my love for wine. And my love for wine stemmed from my love for food. Naturally, most people love food. Food is one of the most important things in life. Without food, life would cease to exist. Some people eat to sustain themselves and find virtually no passion in food. I pity these people. Food not only provides my body with the nourishment it needs, it feeds my mind, body and soul.

food pyramid

I have been a nerd since birth. And I have always been driven to self-educate. My parents can attest to this fact. It has always been my personal goal to become an “expert” in anything and everything that interests me. True, this goal can be very daunting. Nonetheless, I suffer from what I call “Peter Pan” syndrome and truly believe that I can do anything I put my mind to (I can fly! I can fly! I can fly!) …

Peter Pan

After I graduated college, I became lost and confused. I didn’t know where I wanted to go or what I wanted to do with my life. I loved studying psychologoy and criminology, but I had no desire to go into professions in either field. Like most college graduates, I went through a BIG period of “soul-searching” and experimentation.

I also started cooking.


But not the type of cooking I had been doing since I was a kid … I started really cooking. And that’s when I started studying wine. I decided rather quickly that I wanted to receive Sommelier certification and the first book I picked up was “Sotheby’s Wine Encyclopedia.” My new found passion for food & wine led to a series of jobs in both wine retail and the restaurant industry.


The biggest break through for me was becoming a “Managing Partner” at a restaurant called The Northstar Cafe in Columbus, OH.


Although I had no prior restaurant management experience, the owners of the restaurant saw something in me that made them overlook this factor and take the gamble and hire me. I am forever indebted to them for this. (One of the owners, Kevin Malhame, is featured in the picture below).


After I completed management training (which included working every single position in the restaurant – from dishwasher to line cook to front of the house), I was given responsibility and control over all things beverage. This included beer – and not just any beer. The Northstar Cafe only sells craft beer. I knew very little about craft beer when I start, but like a good student I did my homework. And the rest is history. Well, sort of.

drink with the wench

I won’t go any further into the choices that I’ve made since then that have brought me to where I am today (we will save that for my book, eh?). The point of this blog is to illustrate my love and passion for as well as my knowledge and experience with both beer and wine. This way my audience will better understand what I am about to do with both.

Which brings us back to NO MAN’S LAND.


My newest project is absolutely brilliant (in my opinion). The idea was inspired by a request I received from a friend in the wine industry to write an article for his blog recommending beers to wine drinkers. This got my thinking about the linear relationship between wine and beer. There are several commonalities between beer and wine — they are both described in terms of aroma, mouth-feel, body, taste, finish, etc.

he said beer

Whereas wine is most commonly classified by varietal (in the U.S.), beer is categorized by style. There are many similar parallels between both classification systems. The characteristics of a single varietal of grape can changed based upon the region and area in the world in which it is grown. Similarly, there are multiple interpretations of each style of beer depending on where its produced and the ingredients being used.


My goal is to use my knowledge and experience to connect these two types of alcoholic beverages. I want to create linear pairings between styles of beer and varietals of wine. (This is either pure brilliance or pure madness). Yes, I know that I am trekking into dangerous territory by taking on such a challenge. However, I have reached a stage in my studies that has alluded me into thinking that this goal is in fact achievable and that I am in fact the man (the wench) for the job.


There will be haters, naturally. But this does not scare me.

And so … project enter NO MAN’S LAND begins. There is no turning back now!



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Tonight I will be co-hosting my very first beer dinner.


Now I’ve hosted tastings, pairings & beer parties. I’ve also ran beer tastings at bars and restaurants. I’ve also done staff training (for both beer & wine).

But this event is completely different. Two of my other “Twitter” buds and I are tri-hosting a beer vs. wine event. While the idea itself is not entirely unique, the execution of the event is the first in its kind.

Unfortunately, tonight’s event does not have an official “name.” The closest any of us have gotten to naming the event is calling it “@docledebbie @mmWine @TheBeerWench Twitter Taste Live event.” And that doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue very well, now does it?


If you follow me on Twitter, you are probably more than aware of this event. If you are unfamiliar with Twitter, you probably have no idea what I am talking about. Either way, let us clarify the specifics!

As a result of Twitter, I have been connected to some pretty amazing people. Some of my closest friends are people that I’ve met via Twitter. Before you start thinking that I’m lame for meeting friends on Twitter … I ask you to reconsider. Twitter has connected me with many people that are as passionate (if not more) and obsessed with the world of food & beverage as I am.


One such person is Dolce Debbie (aka Chef Debbie Frangipane), Executive Chef and Culinary Director for Savory Adventures as well as a Personal Chef and Personal Trainer. Dolce Debbie (@docledebbie on Twitter) currently resides in Tampa, FL – with her crazy, yet adorable, husband Barry (@barryfrangipane on Twitter). Debbie & Barry have toured Italy extensively and together they own Savory Adventures, a company that offers a unique and exciting way to explore Italy, its land, its people, its wine and its foods.


I first met Dolce Debbie through a mutual Twitter friend, Matt Scott (aka @mmWine on Twitter). Based in West Palm Beach, Matt is the author of the wine blog “A Good Time With Wine.” He is also the co-founder of ZsaZsa and Company, an Internet based wine store that offers an elegant yet fun way to give gifts of wine (you can follow them on Twitter – @zsazsaandco).


Matt and Debbie co-hosted a Twiter Taste Live event back in February. The theme was Piedmont, Italy. Dolce Debbie prepared a fantastic and delicious spread of Italian foods traditional to the region of Piedmont. Matt paired some equally excellent wines with each course. Several people from Twitter, including myself, attended the event. I spent the night alternating between stuffing my face full and twittering non-stop. Matt did a live U-stream video of the event. You can find the original footage on his blog.


The day after the tasting, the three of us (well and Barry) sat down and started planning out the next event. I suggested doing a wine versus beer dinner … and the clocks started turning.

Tonight will be the first Twitter Beer vs. Wine Dinner event … in the entire history of Twitter. Dolce Debbie has created a 5 course menu. Matt and The Beer Wench are going head to head on the first four courses. Obviously, I will be pairing beer and Matt with be pairing wine. (Bring it on Matty!!!)

The menu is set. Dolce Debbie has already turned into a madwoman in the kitchen. I am actually sitting at a table next to her kitchen (I am the official taste tester) – so I can say from first hand experience that she is just tearing it up in the kitchen! This morning she made us all enormous Belgian waffles SMOTHERED in whip cream, fresh berries & sliced bananas.


Matt and I are both here – and both of us have arrived safely with our beverages of choice. So without any further ado, allow me to present the tasting menu … complete with the wine and beer pairings. The beers have been bought, so there is no going back now. HOWEVER, I would love comments and feedback about my choices. Thanks!

Appetizers-Fried Rice Ball w Shrimp, Bruschetta, Fried Zucchini Straws
Beer Pairing Lagunitas Czech Style Pilsner
Wine Pairing Bisson Prosseco 2007

First Plate – Parmesan Risotto
Wine Pairing Bonci Verdicchio Carpaneto 2007
Beer Pairing Bell’s Two-Hearted Ale

Second Plate – Pistachio encrusted Sea Bass
Wine Pairing Deforville Chardonnay 2007
Beer Pairing Jolly Pumpkin Brewery Calabaza Blanca

Main dish – Grilled rack of lamb encrusted in Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs and rosemary.
Wine Pairing Pievano Sagratino Montefalco 2003
Beer Pairing Dogfish Head Raison E’Etre

Dessert – Lemon Cake with strawberries marinated in Limoncello.


Interested in watching the event?

Live video streaming starts at 6:30, with the event itself starting at 7pm. Video stream will be on the Twiter Taste Live home page as well as HERE with a ustream chat room for viewers to interact during the event (you don’t have to be on Twitter to view the ustream video and interact in the chat room).

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