Beer is More Sophisticated Than Wine

Written by Chris Ballard for

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.

Beer is the more popular drink of the masses.

Beer being more popular among the masses sounds like it would go against the argument of sophistication, but it does not. Queen Victoria said, “Give my people plenty of beer, good beer, and cheap beer, and you will have no revolution among them.” A happy nation is a peaceful nation.

When attending a sporting event the most frequently consumed alcoholic beverage is beer. This is not because it is cheap, but because it is the preferred drink of the masses. The most popular events today are sporting events, even among the rich. To drink wine at such an event would show a lack of sophistication.

Beer is the philosopher’s drink.

When a gathering of great minds comes together there is always a lack of wine, but never a lack of beer. Great ideas are never hatched over a bottle of wine, but instead a case of beer. Reported here first: Plato’s favorite beverage was an IPA.

Beer has a wider range of ABV.

Wine is typically restricted to an ABV of 10 to 15 percent, while beer has a wider range. Beer can range in ABV from 3 to 25 percent, or even greater.

Seriously though.

Beer has a long way to go before it will take its rightful place in the eyes of the world as the true beverage of sophistication. The craft beer movement is a start, but beer education is a necessity. People must know that beer is on the same level as wine and it should be treated as such in public places.

There are only a handful of restaurants that serve beer correctly, in a glass. The only way a beer will be given in a glass in most restaurants is when there is no bottle. All wine is in a bottle, yet all wine is served in a glass. Does this create sophistication? In the eyes of the masses it does. What would happen if all beer were served in a glass? Would the eyes of the world, outside of Belgium, be opened to the complexity and sophistication of beer? One can only imagine the possibilities!



Article Author: Chris Ballard

My name is Chris and I fell in love with beer and it’s culture about 8 years ago and have never looked back. I’m am currently on a quest to find the greatest beers in the world and write about my adventures. is where I also do a lot of writing, please take a look. …

Visit Chris Ballard’s author page — Chris Ballard’s Blog

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