well-rounded drink(er)s, part two

continuing the absurdity of the previous post (and we’re still on drinks here, in case you missed the very large post title and “part two” written right above these words), let’s talk about  beer and wine.

i follow two specific beer blogs/feeds, beer haiku daily and beer news. beer news i tend to just browse through the headlines. (though i do like reading the articles about people getting arrested for beer-related crimes. there’s some terribly amusing about those.) beer haiku i read the posts all the way through, though that’s not hard to do because it takes about as long to read a haiku as it does to read a headline. i don’t follow any feeds about wine.

there’s a reason for this. i did try. google reader has this lovely feature where you can type in a word and browse through thousands of possible feeds to follow. at one point i sat down and went through everything google reader had to offer in the food/beverage category, subscribed to way too many, and i’ve been slowly unsubscribing to feeds ever since. the wine blogs were the first to go.

the truth was they weren’t enjoyable to read. listening to someone extol or condemn a bottle of wine (whose label half of the time was never even shown) you’d probably never remember or taste was a bit like listening to a pretentious prat give a three-hour lecture on purell. i also have serious issues with complete strangers telling me what i should or should not like. and self-proclaimed wine aficionados really seem to like to do that. beer drinkers seem to be a bit more relaxed about it all.

before we go too much further, let’s consider the term “drinker” for a minute. at the end of the day, we’re all drinkers. we need water to survive. water is a liquid. and, unless for some unfortunate reason you’re hooked up to an iv, we drink water to ingest it. when we call ourselves a “beer drinker” or a “wine drinker,” we’re implying not only our beverage of choice, but that by choosing said beverage says something about our character. often such self-revealing moments are smugly interjected into conversations like this:

“would you like a beer or something?”

“oh, no. i’m strictly a wine drinker.”

or this:

“can i pour you a glass of chardonnay?”

“no, thanks. i’m just a beer drinker.”

whatever your tastes may be, by defining yourself by your drink, you’re establishing yourself as one thing and not as another. when we separate ourselves off like this, we essentially shut ourselves off from possibilities. there’s such a great divide between beer drinkers and wine drinkers, it’s become almost a class indicator (though by class, it’s difficult to tell if anything, besides drink choice, is being indicated). beer drinking is thought to be more casual, wine drinking not so much. beer you drink out of a bottle, can, or glass; wine you just drink out of a glass. (unless you’re so classy that you drink wine out of the bottle or, even classier, out of the bag. think of franzia, sans the box.) beer pints seldom have stems to their glasses (though stella artois glasses do); wine glasses generally have do. wine glasses also have sinuous, elegant shapes that contrast starkly to the thicker glass and sensible high-ball lines of the pint glass. we don’t drink wine in pints unless it’s been a really, really long day. and then you may as well be drinking out of the bag.

and then there’s the drinkers themselves and the language we use about them. i’d say i would “have a beer with someone” if they seem like a decent, relaxed person. we “wine and dine” when we’re trying to impress. it’s “not all beer and skittles,” but things  can “mellow like a fine bottle of wine.” “one good beer deserves another” implies comradery, but “kisses sweeter than wine” hints at seduction. (on a side note, while i like a lot of beers, i’m not sure i’d like them with skittles. but i’d be willing to try it. skittle-flavored vodka, now, that’s a whole other thing. if you don’t watch your colors, it’ll come out looking like mud. but it’ll taste oh-so-good. especially with sprite.)

so why this divide? if you’ve decided you’re a beer or a wine drinker, you’re already doing your part to widen the gap between beverages. and that’s all they are, really. fermented or aged liquids from fields and vineyards. by deciding to be a well-rounded drinker, you don’t have to be impartial to or love every drink that passes you by. you just have to be open to trying new things and make your decision based on what’s placed before you alone, not what genre of drinks it belongs to.

so what type of drinker are you and why? does it really even matter?

(photos from stock.xchng.hu. thank you stock photo people.)