What kind of wine might a beer drinker like?
June 11, 2015 10:31 PM   Subscribe

Due to medical reasons, I can no longer drink carbonated beverages, including beer. So what kind of wine might quench my thirst after a long day at the lake? Any other suggestions like hard cider or lemonade that isn't carbonated? Margaritas obviously, but what else? I typically enjoy good old Bud Light so something along those lines.
posted by tamitang to Food & Drink (31 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:51 PM on June 11, 2015 [4 favorites]

Aw, as a fellow beer lover, I feel ya. I found this which may be helpful. If I was forced to do the same, I'd have a hard time because I don't like sugary sweet drinks like margaritas and daiquiris but that doesn't sound like it's the case for you.

I love me a good mojito, but not the fakey kind that's cut with sprite or the dreaded 'bar lime' mix. I just use plain old still water in mine and maybe just a titch of sugar along with real lime juice and mint (and whatever rum I have handy - I like amber).
posted by Klaxon Aoooogah at 10:51 PM on June 11, 2015

Mint julep!
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:52 PM on June 11, 2015 [2 favorites]

Oo, yes, a good sangria would be wonderful! Add a glurg of Cointreau or Kirsch and lotsa fruit.
posted by Klaxon Aoooogah at 10:58 PM on June 11, 2015

posted by namewithoutwords at 10:59 PM on June 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

Have you tried rosé wines? They get a bad rap, but a good rosé is lovely and refreshing and summery. Personally, I like the ones from Provence--and because rosé is meant to be consumed while young, even really good French ones are not so expensive, relatively speaking. I prefer dry over sweet but YMMV. Just beware of the sparkling ones, since you are trying to avoid carbonation.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 11:06 PM on June 11, 2015 [11 favorites]

+1 for dry rosés! The US market is finnnally taking note, and importers are bringing over some great ones from France and Italy. They are still under appreciated, and because of that you can buy cheap and delicious ones.

My recommendation is Muscadet Sevre et Maine. I know it sounds SUPER pretentious, but hear me out. It's a wine made in the Loire valley of France, and it is the most damn refreshing thing. It is wine to shove into an orange Gatorade brand cooler and drink in the hot summer sun on a porch. Really. Fancy people will say it goes great with oysters, but I've always just sipped it in a deck chair listening to The Band. There is a producer who is pretty readily available in the US called Domaine de la Pépière. It's cheap, it's an amazing value, and it's made by an adorable old French guy who you KNOW would be down to drink a cold brewski. You may not find Muscadet Sevre et Maine at a gas station, but head into any wine shop and ask for it. The grape used is Melon de Bourgogne so look out for that, too, on the label while browsing around a "France" section.
posted by missmary6 at 11:26 PM on June 11, 2015 [27 favorites]

Portuguese Vinho Verde: light, crisp and cheap. It is often slightly effervescent, but not as carbonated as pop, beer or champers. As my link suggests, try Albariño if even this small level of carbonation does not agree with you.

Serious Eats and their readers tried out a few different bottles of VV: their taster notes are worth a look. (Gazela is my summer mainstay.)
posted by maudlin at 11:39 PM on June 11, 2015 [11 favorites]

As for more beery suggestions: I sometimes pour a thumb or two of Scotch into a tall glass and cut it with 3-4 parts sparkling water for a beer-strength drink. You could try the same with still water.

I also have a friend who is a brewer who is obsessive about beer carbonation. He thinks most beer is overcarbonated, so he'll stir a beer with a fork for 30 seconds or so to drive off the excess gas. You might try the same and see if it makes it palatable.

...or if you want to completely de-gas the beer, you can warm it to room temperature and pour it into a pitcher. Let it stand for an hour or so, then refrigerate it with a lid or foil over the top. You should end up with flat, cold beer without picking up any off-flavors.
posted by Anoplura at 11:42 PM on June 11, 2015 [3 favorites]

A) Any cocktail that uses soda water can be made with still water. Any cocktail made with tonic can be made with tonic syrup (handmade or storebought) mixed with still water.

B) I did a pretty rad FPP on cocktail recipes a while back, including a master recipe for summery, fruity, herby drinks that I know from experience can be watered down with a good portion of still water (instead of the suggested soda water or champagne) to make a drink with an ABV approaching beer.
posted by Juliet Banana at 11:59 PM on June 11, 2015 [4 favorites]

Arnold Palmers (with or without some vodka) would be nice I think. The tannins in the tea could add the bitter edge that's a little beer-like, and if you used a homemade tart lemonade, it wouldn't be a "sweet" drink.

Also get a bottle of good bitters, they're a good way to make drinks taste good without being sweet. Even ice water with a spirit, a few dashes and a bit of muddled fruit might make a nice unsweet summer drink.
posted by Sweetchrysanthemum at 12:50 AM on June 12, 2015 [2 favorites]

If you liked ipas, there are a few varieties of hopped spirits you could try, I've seen a whiskey, I know anchor steam does a hopped vodka, there are probably others. Never tried them myself.

A winery near me made a batch of hopped Chardonnay last year, but its no longer available. Maybe another winery has had a similar idea.
posted by TheAdamist at 2:45 AM on June 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

If it's the meds side effect where carbonated drinks taste flat and super sweet, try bitter-sour drinks. I've found that bitter less sweet coffee now tastes more mellow and good, black tea has sweet notes and sweet wines are sickly. The good news is that rough cheap red wine tastes quite pleasant now, if muted, so try just cheap plonk. Things I remember as sour and harsh taste surprisingly tangy and decent now. A Bloody Mary or a gin and tonic with still water and a strong splash of lemon would taste way less sour to you than other people.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 3:05 AM on June 12, 2015

Find out whether you can drink Real Ale. I love beer and I love me some Real Ale. I don't think its really carbonated, its usually pretty flat, but oh so wonderful! Otherwise I quite like dry white wine if I am not drinking beer. This is what I found on the camra.org.uk website:

Real ale is a natural, living product. By its nature this means it has a limited shelf life and needs to be looked after with care in the pub cellar and kept at a certain temperature to enable it to mature and bring out its full flavours for the drinker to enjoy.

Brewery-conditioned, or keg, beer has a longer shelf life as it is not a living product. Basically, after the beer has finished fermentation in the brewery and has been conditioned, it is chilled and filtered to remove all the yeast and then it is pasteurised to make it sterile. This is then put in a sealed container, called a keg, ready to be sent to the pub.

The problem is that removing the yeast and ‘killing off' the product through pasteurisation also removes a great deal of the taste and aroma associated with real ale. Because there is no secondary fermentation occurring in the container (i.e keg) in which is held, there is no natural carbonation of the beer so gas either carbon dioxide or a mixture of carbon dioxide and nitrogen has to be added to "fizz up" the beer. This creates an unnaturally fizzy beer rather than the gentle carbonation produced by the slow secondary fermentation in a cask of real ale.
posted by catspajammies at 3:15 AM on June 12, 2015

Sauvignon blanc.
posted by pompomtom at 3:57 AM on June 12, 2015 [3 favorites]

I would second the recommendation of vinho verde, though as noted there can be a very, very slight bit of bubbliness. Second best on a hot day would be a dry rose; that will take some research and some trial and error, though, since so much rose on the market is grossly sweet.
posted by Dip Flash at 4:40 AM on June 12, 2015

Spanish ciders are delicious and not carbonated.
posted by yeahlikethat at 5:44 AM on June 12, 2015

> sugary sweet drinks like margaritas and daiquiris

These absolutely don't need to be sugary sweet!


1 1/2 ounces light rum
1 ounce fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon simple syrup or superfine sugar

Shake well with ice, serve up. Or over more ice, with a little still water if you like. It's a very forgiving drink.

Perfect margarita:

1 1/2 ounces tequila (blanco, 100 percent agave)
1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 ounce Cointreau (not Triple Sec)

You can rim the glass with salt if you like that.
posted by rtha at 5:54 AM on June 12, 2015 [2 favorites]

I also have a friend who is a brewer who is obsessive about beer carbonation. He thinks most beer is overcarbonated, so he'll stir a beer with a fork for 30 seconds or so to drive off the excess gas. You might try the same and see if it makes it palatable.

I totally agree with this. I have been known to...ahem...leave a beer open for 12 hours in the fridge before drinking it. on purpose

This works better with some styles than others--darker/full-bodied ales are best (refreshing lagers, not so much). The beer won't completely flat, it retains a subtle tang of background carbonation.
posted by pullayup at 5:57 AM on June 12, 2015

I'm a beer drinker who prefers mostly lagers. When I drink wine I drink Pinot Grigio, and when I drink cider I drink Smith & Forge. The Pinot Grigio is dry enough but not tart like, say, a Cabernet Sauvignon. The Smith & Forge isn't too sweet.
posted by lyssabee at 6:11 AM on June 12, 2015 [2 favorites]

I agree with lyssabee that a dry white like Pinot Grigio is refreshing when it's hot, but also like Cabernet Suavignon. In my experience the Italian pinots are not as sweet as the califonia ones.
posted by TedW at 6:23 AM on June 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

Most California wines are 13% to 14% alcohol. Muscadet (mentioned above) is usually around 12%. Vinho Verde can be as low as 5%. The only other wine I know of that regularly clocks under 10% is German Riesling, and then only if it's on the sweet side. A Kabinett will be semi-sweet (no more so than the Margaritas you're probably drinking) and around 8%. Lord Byron used to drink it mixed with soda water.
posted by mr vino at 6:41 AM on June 12, 2015

If you are usually a Bud Light drinker I think white sangria might be more up your alley.

Gin and fresh lemonade is delicious.

But if I could no longer drink beer (!!) (my heart really breaks for you, friend) I think I would probably use some sort of de-carbonation method, and start drinking it on ice with a hit of lime cordial.
posted by kmennie at 6:48 AM on June 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

Some cask conditioned beers are virtually un-carbonated. This of course would require having access to cask conditioned beer.
posted by Gungho at 6:59 AM on June 12, 2015

JK's Scrumpy Cider is absolutely delicious, refreshing, and non-carbonated. I wish more cider makers would skip the carbonation.

Also: Pimm's Cup recipes usually call for some kind of carbonated mix-in but I think it would be just as wonderful without the carbonation, especially if you go all-out and add fresh fruit, cucumber slices, rosemary springs, etc. Maybe use lemonade instead of lemon-lime soda.
posted by usonian at 6:59 AM on June 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

I also sometimes let beer sit open to lose the carbonation.

In my opinion, there is no wine that can truly replace beer, you're just turning into a wine drinker... which is fine if you like wine, but I don't like wine at all and if it's between wine and nothing I'd just choose nothing.

If I were in this situation, I'd try brewing a batch of beer and then bottle the beer without the corn sugar that's used to carbonate in the bottle. That way you'd get sealed bottles of beer of whatever style you like without the carbonation.
posted by Huck500 at 7:36 AM on June 12, 2015

I like the idea of switchel and also Juliet Banana's fruity and herbal concepts. Or get some of those really nice teas that are meant to be iced, and add alcohol if you like.

In addition, shrubs are big right now. I bought this book with the idea of making a sour cherry shrub this summer, but the internet has exploded with recipes lately. In the book I have linked to, many recipes will work with or without added alcohol.

I have also found kombucha (plain or ginger flavored) to taste a lot like beer but it is slightly bubbly; depends on the brand.
posted by BibiRose at 7:46 AM on June 12, 2015

The best summer cocktail: Porch Swing. It's a slightly more herbal Pimm's Cup with a little more kick. I often leave out the carbonation anyway.
posted by supercres at 7:50 AM on June 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

Cynar on the rocks garnished with orange peel.
posted by John Cohen at 8:17 AM on June 12, 2015

I rarely drink anything other than beer. I find most of the popular wines too dry. My favourites are Chenin Blanc, Pinot Grigio, White Zinfandel (this is not actually white, it is rose). I don't like red wines at all.
posted by intensitymultiply at 12:45 PM on June 12, 2015

I agree with the Muscadet suggestion. It's dry (no sugar), clean tasting, yeasty, refreshing, and a little bitter on the finish--not a hoppy type bitter, but more like grapefruit zest. One big difference is that although Muscadet is a wine that's relatively low in alc. (around %12 ABV), that's still 2x or more the alc. of a beer. If you like sours I might suggest trying an orange wine, one that's aldehydic. Another option would be a traditional Basque cider.
posted by mr_suboptimal at 1:33 PM on June 12, 2015

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