You’ve probably been hearing buzz about beer/wine “hybrids.” It’s been a slowly emerging trend for a while, but we were hoping that by ignoring it, it would eventually go away.
Wait, let us re-phrase that – we have nothing against adding wine grape juice to beer. We think that’s cool. What we take issue with is the widely adopted term of calling it a “beer/wine hybrid.” They’re not always fermenting the grapes, and many times, there’s not even enough grape flavor to make a real impact.
So, for the sake of our sanity, we will henceforth refer to the beer/wine hybrid as wine-inspired beer. Because that’s what it is.
Where did this all start? The always creative Dogfish Head has been getting the credit. Way back in 1999, they brewed a beer called Midas Touch made from Muscat grapes, honey and saffron. They were inspired by a discovery that University of Pennsylvania researchers made. They found 157 bronze vats, jugs and drinking bowls in a Turkish tomb that may have been the resting place of King Midas. After doing a chemical analysis on those items, it was found that they contained residue from a drink that had been made from barley, grapes and honey. Since then, Dogfish Head has made other wine-inspired beers that have done well. Because of that, many other breweries have jumped on board the wine/beer train.
Andy Parker from Avery Brewing told Bon Apetit magazine how he felt about the subject. We couldn’t agree more with what his explanation on “beer/wine hybrids”:
“I don’t like the term hybrid. People think, ‘Oh, you just mixed wine and beer.’ But we didn’t want grape-flavored beer – we’re mixing the methods of how wine and beer are made.”
He ferments a mix of grainy wort and local grapes, then ages the beer in wine barrels.
We like when people experiment, but we’re not on board with the hybrid trend, or word. The beer and wine worlds are pretty separate and when you blur the lines like this, consumers get confused and don’t necessarily know what to make of it. We can see craft beer lovers getting behind it because they’ll try anything once, but as for the wine lovers, if they want wine, they’re probably just going to drink wine.
Are we overreacting to the beer/wine hybrid craze? Call us crazy but we like to stay true to what’s actually in the bottle. Share your opinion below.