Beer and wine are two of the best beverages on earth, but it's not always easy to find a good wine that is also friendly for beer lovers. It's a common misconception that you can't appreciate both types of beverages, but that couldn't be farther from the truth!
When you're a beer lover and expanding your choices with wine, you'll develop your palate and experience other flavors that may be similar to beer or something completely new. Without further ado, here are the best wines for beer lovers.
IPA and Double IPA Drinkers
Sauvignon Blanc - This white wine is quite fruit-forward with a hint of herbs and spices. It packs some punch due to its high ABV, though not as much as IPAs. Indian Pale Ales are a popular choice for many but tend to be higher in alcohol content. They often have lingering bitterness that can make them tough on the tastebuds, so it's crucial they're balanced out with fruit flavors and added sweetness.
New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc - Similar fruity notes like tropical fruits work well here, too, since these wines pack more sugar than others. This type of wine has grassy herbs with tropical fruit undertones similar to the earthiness in an IPA beer!
Rhône Blends - For those who like the hops in their beers, red Rhone blends from Southern France are the best wine for beer lovers. They boast savory, herbal notes that easily appeal to hop lovers and are medium-bodied to full-bodied with light fruity flavors balanced by earthy spice.
Grüner Veltliner - This refreshing dry white wine produces citrus flavors. It has been known to convert beer drinkers into sippers of wines with their high acidity and fruit-forward character.
Carménère - This is a hearty wine like an IPA. Each has its nuances worth exploring!
Sancerre - Its refreshing qualities make it an excellent wine for those who enjoy IPA beer’s herbaceous and citrusy flavors.
Pilsners, Lagers, and Light Beer Drinkers
Pinot Gris - This can be the perfect wine alternative to pilsners, lagers, and light beers. It has crisp flavors that provide you with just enough to satisfy your taste buds without being too intense or overpowering. Pinot Gris is one of the best wines for beer drinkers since it features refreshing notes from their relatively young grapes harvested while they're still fresh.
Pinot Grigio - For more adventurous drinkers with similar tastes, try Pinot Grigio from Friuli and Alto Adige. These wines have fruity notes that will remind you of apple as well as citrus flavors. These varieties are also reminiscent of beer enthusiasts because they can be dry yet still offer some residual sweetness on the finish, just like your favorite brewski.
Gruner Veltliner - Lager and pilsner drinkers will also love this wine due to its light and refreshing qualities. With its crisp undertones and dryness, as well as being amazing with curries, this wine is definitely a new favorite for beer drinkers everywhere!
Cava Brut Nature - This is also a perfect starter for lovers of lagers looking to expand their palate. The dry, light-bodied Spanish sparkling offers a much more affordable entry point into this world with its price point and versatility. It's refreshing and bubbly like a lager but also pairs well with salty pub fare.
Imperial / Stout Drinkers
Bordeaux - There are many powerful flavors in Bordeaux, with dark cherry and licorice as usual. Compared to bold beers like big stouts with a coffee or cocoa flavor, it is easy to see how these drinks would be considered similar as they both pack an alcohol punch.
Australian Shiraz - A stout is a heavy beer with plenty of body in the mouthfeel, and this one needs something that's equally broad-shouldered. Australian Shiraz can be just what you're looking for - rugged and packs flavors like mocha, graphite, savory meat, plus high alcohol thanks to Australia’s abundant sunshine.
Oyster Stout Drinkers
Muscadet - The traditional pairing of shellfish and Oyster Stouts is a popular choice, but if you're looking for something different to try out this winter, then go for Muscadet. Although light and refreshing, it has some similar characteristics as ale: dry, saline, and it goes great with seafood dishes like Oysters Rockefeller or Chowder. It's no wonder why it's among the best wines for beer drinkers.
Sour Ale / Beer Drinkers
Riesling - Offers a crisp and sweet taste with an unmistakable white peach flavor. Sour beers, like those aged in wine barrels for months at a time, are even more tart than their Riesling counterpart due to how they're handled during the fermentation process – but both have that undeniable fruited sweetness all drinkers can enjoy.
Pinot Noir and Chardonnay - You can also try the best French wines like these two - both earthy and bright-sour. The limestone soil gives them their signature flavor profile: lively acidity with a punch of tart fruitiness to it.
Beaujolais - If you have an affinity for the dry, sweet, and sour taste of a Saison or Sour Ale, try Beaujolais wines. These are typically light-bodied with bright fruit flavors like candied fruits and hints of spice in some cases. They are made from Gamay grapes which give it notes like bananas and sometimes even that hint of spiciness!
Rosés - This is a lighter wine with the complexity of sour ales. It can be made from Tempranillo grapes (which often give it some spice), making them perfect if you're in an adventurous mood on your next date night!
Pale Ale Drinkers
Merlot - This velvety grape variety can be an excellent wine substitute for the hoppy notes in Pale Ale. The complexity and balance of these two offer many opportunities to experiment with different flavor profiles while still maintaining some level of traditionality, making it perfect as your go-to drink on date night or out at a happy hour.
Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand and Loire Valley - These are excellent selections that remind pale ale lovers of the beer’s crisp, fruity, and piney flavor. If you're looking to try something new or just want an alternative white wine option on your next night out, consider these wines.
Vermentino - This wine’s floral and citrus notes and a bitter almond finish are also reminiscent of some flavors of pale ale.
Pinot Noir - This red wine is considered to be on the lighter spectrum. It possesses the qualities of balance and mellowness without any bitter tannins. It has been said by many old-timers, especially pale ale drinkers, as being "refreshing." Pinot Noir can also handle cooler temperatures than your traditional tannic wines and pair well with fish entrees or grilled meats like steak.
Vienna Grüner Veltliners - Those who enjoy a pale ale but crave something not overloaded with hops but rather complements the flavor profile should try this wine. The fresh flavors and slightly bitter notes balanced by citrus fruitiness have been praised, attributed to the balance of bitterness.
Red / Amber Ale Drinkers
Amontillado Sherries - Some people can't get enough of the hoppy, malty flavors in an amber or red ale. These brews are usually too strong, though - so it's time for a new solution! One drink that matches perfectly is Sherry because they're full of nuttiness and richness from their oxidized flavorings.
Cava - Amber ales also have a range of flavors and aromas that vary from bready notes to sugar cookies. Cava is an off-dry sparkling wine with citrus fruitiness reminiscent of pear or quince but more savory mineral qualities akin to the taste profile for one's favorite brew.
Zinfandel - It's easy to compare the aroma and flavor profile of red/amber ale to red wine, but amber ale usually has notes like caramelized sugar cookies or figs. Fans should try Zinfandel for some interesting similarities between tart berry flavors, hints of smoke, sweet raisins, and cinnamon spice. It is nicely served chilled as well!
Rose - Amber/red ale and rosé enthusiasts can also find themselves in a world of beautiful drinks. While amber ale is typically more malt-forward, rosé has plenty to offer on the other spectrum with notes of fruitiness and sweetness that are perfect for summer days when you want something lighter.
Brown Ale Drinkers
Teroldego -This wine has a dark, bitter taste and an earthy flavor, similar to brown ale. It also has flowery backbones with some astringency, leaving the wines not too easy to drink, but it's worth it because of their unique qualities compared to other grapes.
Pinot Noir - This is light, drinkable, and not too tannic wine, making it a nice accompaniment to food during dinner with friends or family. The top-end versions of this red wine have complex flavors despite their lighter body - just like what you would expect from an English brown ale!
Belgian Dark Ale Drinkers
Shiraz - These wines have a similar smooth taste to Belgium Ales, with fruit and smoky sweetness. The big body of this blended grape makes it perfect for anyone looking for something that stands on its own in terms of flavor and looks great when served up in a tall wine glass.
Grenache Blanc - Belgian Ales may look light, but they pack a significant punch - Grenache Blanc is the same! It seems approachable but offers an even more powerful kick. These wines can also have fruity and floral qualities, making them stand out from other white wine varieties on the market, such as Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio.
Rosé - The Tripel is a complex brew that's full of flavor. It can be hard to tell if you're overdoing it at first, but be sure not to have too many, or else the next day will feel worse than a college hangover morning! For something similar in taste and texture to the Tripel without as much alcohol content, try Rosé Sparkling Wine for some sweet fruit flavors with lower octane levels.
Nebbioloor Aglianico -These Italian red wines have floral and herbal aromas with an earthy flavor. It is also complex and bitter at the end, similar to Porter beer’s richness and complexities.
Pinot Noir - This wine is identical to darker beers like Stout or Porter because it's light on tannins and heavy on fruity aromatics such as raspberry.
BordeauxandTuscan Chianti- Both of these drinks are earthy in taste. Bordeaux wines are usually lighter on alcohol than the bold tannin of Tuscan Chianti. These wine varieties are a match made in heaven for any Porter drinker. The balanced alcohol of both Bordeaux and Chianti offers a more drinkable profile.
Merlot - With their deep notes of coffee, toffee, and fruit, these wines will complement the palates of those that enjoy a rich beer of the stout or porter variety.
Rosé of Tempranillo - This wine is an excellent option for those who enjoy drinking the more peppery style of Saison. These wines deliver herbaceous and savory notes with less fruitiness than other rosés, making them perfect for pairing with your favorite spicy dishes.
Chenin Blanc - An excellent choice for Saison lovers as this grape variety offers wild yeasty flavors and lovely flowery qualities, similar to this beer’s taste.
Champagne - This bubbly has a dry taste over an effervescent finish, perfect for any celebration. It also matches the fruity, citrus, and floral hints found in Saison beers.
Wheat Beer Drinkers
Chardonnays - Wheat beers and Chardonnays are both full of complexity, flavor, and color. A buttery Chardonnay has similar qualities to beer with its roundness, coziness in texture, and golden hue.
Champagne - For a bubbly option that is richer but still delicate on taste buds, you might want Champagne that lasts for extended aging before it's sold, so there will be more complex flavors present.
Albariño - Like wheat beer, this wine is full of fruity aromas reminiscent of tropical fruit and ripe peaches with a lemon-meets-lime finish on the palate. It's incredibly fresh but also zippy from its lime flavors to its salinity level.
Gewürztraminer - This is the perfect wine to substitute your Belgian-style ale. It's citrusy and floral, but it also has hints of spice for a little something extra! This sweet grape pairs well with Indian dishes or more exotic fare like Arabic cuisine, just like Witbier beer does, because you can really taste those spices that are usually tucked away in food from these regions.
Beaujolais - This fruity wine has a similar taste and easy-drinking structure as Hefeweizen beer but doesn’t have the intense hops and flavors. Mass-produced and not as costly as high-end wines on the North Shore, this red has a lower alcohol content that lets it pair well with food.
Fruity Lambic Drinkers
Moscato d’Asti, or Brachetto d'Acqui - For Lambic fans, try these wines. If apricot ale is more your taste, try bubbly wines like Moscato, and the sweet peachy notes will be perfect for you! But if Framboise is what gets your mouth watering, then try out Brachetto’s effervescence and red raspberry flavor instead.
Lambrusco - This sparkling red wine comes in various flavors and styles, from dry to off-dry but always retains its up-front fruit flavorings. It includes some additional creaminess or chocolate notes, depending on the type.
Beaujolais Nouveau - This alternative wine suggestion will not disappoint Lambic beer fans! It has an ultra-acidic taste with lush, juicy aromas of raspberry and cranberry mixed in with candied fruits and banana to make your mouth water just thinking about it!
Prosecco- From Cologne, Germany, comes a refreshing and clean ale called Kölsch. But if you're not in the mood for beer, you might want to try Prosecco. The drier the wine, the more similar mouthfeel it will have as Kölsch beers. If you’re looking for more cracker bread flavors in your brews, Extra Dry Brut may be right up your alley.
Argentine Malbec - This is often described as plummy and full-bodied. Bock has similar qualities to the Argentinian grape variety so try substituting one for another if you enjoy dark, hearty beers.
Port- This wine paves the way for the sweet tooth with its rich flavor. Meanwhile, Bocks have a full body and a strong taste for the perfect after-dinner drink. They share some similarities, especially in the food pairing element.
Merlot - This red wine contains a subtle chocolate taste and a smooth finish, perfect for those who enjoy a malty flavor found in Bock beers. It can also be consumed as an accompaniment to desserts.
Vin Santo - This dessert-like Italian wine is a must-try if you love dark wheats like Weizenbock with all of its sweet, rich flavors and estery notes. To make it even better, this drink has subtle vanilla beans tones that will please any palate, as well as dried apricot characteristics to add complexity!
Rauchbier or Smoked Beer Drinkers
Rioja - One of the smokiest tasting drinks is a Rauchbier. Unlike many other beers, which are just subtle with their smoke flavor, this beer tastes spicy and meaty with its savory character. It might be worth swapping out withRioja wine which lets you enjoy its rich taste of tobacco, plum, herbs, and berries.
Syrah - Some drinks may seem a little smokier, but none of them have the same bold flavor as Rauchbier. It also has spicy qualities with savory notes alongside its meaty taste profile. Some people even find hints of bacon! The Old World Syrah, reminiscent of earthiness and softness, makes an excellent substitute for these flavors.
Sherry - Bourbon barrel-aged stouts are rich, intense beers that will only get better with age. For the wine alternative, you need to have something sweet and gooey like Sherry on hand as those little flor yeasts can die at any time, leaving your wine very dark and dry with notes of parallel wood, fudge, and burnt vanilla.
Tawny - This wine is just as powerful and jammy as your favorite barrel-aged bourbon beer. Let your senses come alive when you taste the dark, deep dessert wines that are carefully aged in oak barrels and valued for their complexity and intense caramel and nuts flavors.
Zinfandels - Oak barrels add a rich, deep flavor to the beer, adding complexity and quickly aging it. Both Zinfandel and barrel-aged beers have robust flavors that can handle strong foods like cheese or cured meats!
Drinking wine while being a die-hard beer lover has its benefits. Wine allows you access to more complexities and flavors so you can expand your palate and appreciation for great beverages. What are you waiting for? Try the best wine substitute for your favorite beer now!