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4 Craft Beers for Wine Lovers

In what could also be called “4 Wines for Craft Beer Lovers,” experts DJ Kearney and Ken Beattie pair wine with their beer counterpart.

You may have happily chosen sides long ago in the eternal war that is wine vs. beer—and that’s fine—but I’m here to tell you these fermented libations have more flavours in common than you think.

In a recent tasting event at Whistler’s Food and Wine festival Cornucopia, wine expert DJ Kearney teamed up with the head honcho at BC Craft Brewers Guild, Ken Beattie, to show that for every wine, there is a sister beer.

So whether your tastes favour the grape vintage or malt brew, in the spirit of expanding horizons, here are four craft beers experts recommend you try if you like these wines (and vice versa).

driftwood-chablis5

Pair 1: La Chablisienne Chablis La Pierrelee and Driftwood White Bark Wit Beer

If You Like La Pierrelee Chablis ($29)…
According to DJ Kearney, La Chablisienne is always made from Chardonnay and this one is full of apple and citrus.

…Try Driftwood White Bark Wit Beer ($5 for 650 ml).
Contrary to Driftwood‘s award-winning Fat Tug IPA, this traditional Belgian-style wheat ale has “negligible hops,” says Beattie, with notes of orange, steeped coriander and rind from dried oranges.

kim-crawford-toques of hazzard

Pair 2: Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc and Parallel 49 Toques of Hazzard

If You Like Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2014 ($19)…
One of the most popular wines in the world, Kearney described it as a crispy white, big on guava, but also with hints of grassiness, saying the Kim Crawford wine almost smells hoppy, like its malty match below.

…Try Toques of Hazzard Imperial White IPA ($5.60 for 650 ml).
Naturally, as an IPA, this Parallel 49 brew is chock-full of hops, and brings big flavours of tropical stone fruits with a citrus top, explains Beattie—while still trying to be well balanced (at 9.2%). This beer uses Citra and Nelson Sauvin hops, which is significant, because Nelson is a region in central New Zealand, and Sauvin is another name for the Sauvignon Blanc grape. It’s almost as if Kim Crawford’s Sauvignon Blanc—also from New Zealand—and Toques of Hazzard were siblings separated at birth.

blue mountain

Pair 3: Blue Mountain Gamay Noir and Strange Fellows Obnoxious Lil Persona

If You Like Gamay Noir 2014 ($23 to $25)…
This hard-to-find superstar from Okanagan Falls boasts “crazy acidity” says Kearney, but also juicy strawberry flavours from 100 percent grown-on-the-Blue-Mountain-estate grapes. I loved the strong fruity smell of this one, like a fresh, tart strawberry spritzer.

…Try Strawberry Berliner Weisse a.k.a. Obnoxious Lil Persona ($8 to $11 by the growler).
Beattie introduced this craft brew with a chuckle, as the “Obnoxious Lil Persona” was so named after someone scribbled this cutting graffiti insult in chalk on one of the brewery’s walls. Made with more than a hundred pounds of local strawberries, the sour pinky beer was a surprising delight and the best sour variety I’ve tasted by far. Sadly, this 3.5% sessionable Berliner has already come and gone (perhaps the best and worst thing about craft beer!), but their tasting room staff says it’s poised for a comeback in late summer or fall 2016. In the meantime, try the currently available cherry-flavoured Bellatrix Le Tart, or the look out for a raspberry-forward Roxanne coming to East Vancouver’s Strange Fellows in the next month or so.

nkmip

Pair 4: Nk’Mip Syrah Q2 and Powell Street Dive Bomb Porter

If You Like Qwam Qwmt 2010 Syrah ($30)…
The last of the wines comes from Canada’s first aboriginal winery, which is owned by a band in Osoyoos with some 5,000 hectares of vines (500 of which are for syrah). Kearney says this is potentially the greatest red grape we grow in the Okanagan, and this is the perfect place to grow it. There’s a whole earthy mix of scents and tastes, for Nk’Mip describes it as having a “savoury, meaty nose” with punches of black pepper, blackberries and cedar shavings.

…Try Dive Bomb Porter ($6 for 650 ml).
To me, Powell Street Craft Brewery‘s dark brown porter was like drinking coffee (which can be a good or a bad thing, depending on whether or not you like coffee), but it also had that hoppy kick to remind you it was a beer. Behind these strong tastes you’re supposed to find hints of caramel, toffee, chocolate and nuts (but I mostly just found coffee).

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