I regret to inform the wine drinkers of the world that your drink is not the one of sophistication! Beer is the beverage of sophistication, as it has always been. The reasons for this astounding conclusion abound, some of which will be laid out in this article.
First a definition. Sophistication: change from the natural character or simplicity, or the resulting condition; complexity, as in design or organization.
Beer is more complex.
There are more ingredients in a bottle of beer than a glass of wine. This creates a more complex flavor with each drink of beer than of wine. Wine primarily consists of two ingredients, grapes and yeast (for fermentation). Beer, on the other hand, consists of several base ingredients such as barley, hops, yeast, and water. Beyond this the list of ingredients is limited only by the brewer’s imagination.
There is a greater range of color available within the world of beer than that of wine. This is extremely important because humans rely on visual stimuli to rate quality and perceived taste. This is why beer should always be poured into a glass, rather than consumed from a bottle.
Beer color ranges from a pale straw to black, with a myriad of colors in between. In the U.S. we have a scale for these colors, the SRM (Standard Reference Method). Pale straw starts the scale at a 2, with black rounding out the scale with a 40+.
Brewing is an art.
Winemakers have it easy; they are limited by their own profession to creating what has already been created. Creating a fine wine is a standard, not an art. Beer brewers are challenged to create new and interesting beers that will capture the hearts of beer drinkers around the world.
Brewers are able to use any ingredients they so desire; winemakers are limited to certain types of grapes and yeast to yield their product. Brewers are allowed to take risks that winemakers are not afforded. Beers have been brewed with fruit, peppers, wheat, and chocolate. Some beers require the addition of hops or fruit during the fermentation process; the brewer must have perfect timing to pull off such an addition or the entire brew will be destroyed.