We are all friends in fermentation…

The reservations of beer drinkers and the rituals of wine drinkers have maintained a degree of separation such that each peers suspiciously into the camp of the other and each is left wondering what their differences really are.

The latest tome to give beer drinkers the courage to “cross-over” to the wine side is a slim volume by Jim Laughren, CWE. (The CWE seems to refer to a designation of Certified Wine Educator conferred by the Society of Wine Educators an industry group.)

The first two chapters comfort the beer drinker and let the reader know that they are welcomed by wine drinkers and they have a few things in common. Chapters three and four give the beer drinker permission to drink wine and a few word of jargon so that they will begin to feel comfortable with wine. Chapters five and six let the beer drinker know that note taking is an essential part of wine enjoyment. It is the way that wine drinkers can build a data base of impressions that can direct them to choice wines and special vineyards. (The fact that they are also drinking, and spitting, beverages that are twice the alcohol content of most fermented barley malt beverages is not mentioned. But take it from me, it is a necessary ritual.)

Next, chapters seven and eight fill the reader in on the basic grape varieties and a few more of the vocabulary words that are essential to the wine drinker. Chapters nine and ten walk the reader through the most famous grape growing areas of the major wine producing countries of Europe. Here is where even the most enthusiastic cross-over candidate will start to get lost in the geography, vineyard names and grape characteristics. By chapter eleven the reader is being consoled that the preceding was sort of an outline and they should simply enjoy the flavors and read the labels after they take their notes. Chapter twelve brings the reader to the dinner table and goes over the basics of pairing the wines with the dishes on the menu. This is familiar territory for the beer drinker so the confidence of the reader should be reinforced. The next chapter rolls the reader into the bar and exploring the traditional and non-traditional flavors found in the wine cocktail. The last two chapters let the reader peek at the gadgets that wine lovers play with and offer closing thoughts meant to allow the beer drinker feel that they have not so much crossed-over but learned a new language and an additional way to get buzzed.

Let it be noted that I received a copy of this book gratis from the folks at Smith Publicity for reviewing. I have received neither compensation nor remuneration for the above review. I will however wish Jim Laughren all the best of luck with this book and offer to put the first round of fermented beverages on my tab if he cares to take me up on the offer. As noted at the very beginning… “We are all friends in fermentation!”