I know more than a few beer fanatics, and though they are fine people, almost all have an ax to grind. Why is wine, they want to know, venerated as a complex, sophisticated beverage that belongs on the dinner table of every food lover, while beer is essentially lumped with demolition derbies and monster truck pulls?Good question, even if by confronting wine they are picking the wrong enemy. No one has damaged the reputation of beer as much as the big beer companies, which through their own advertising have created the unfortunate image of the beer lover as bottom feeder. Nonetheless, the fans are on a crusade to prove that traditional beer, not the insipid
supermarket stuff, is as fine a drink as wine to grace the table, if not better.
I refuse to get into a battle over whether wine or beer is superior: is painting better than sculpture? But I know that if you need to make the case that beer can have all the complexity and intrigue of a fine wine, Exhibit A has to be farmhouse ales.
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