What to Drink this November 2012

The production of beer and bread are surprisingly similar. Both use water, yeast and cereal grains (barley, wheat, rye). The only thing bread is missing is the lovely presence of hops. The ingredients cross over so well, in fact, that a commonly known bread is actually named beer bread – made with grains that have already been used in a batch of beer. Primitive bread is thought to have been produced by making a dough of grain and water and baking it into bread. Many believe that the first primitive beer making was done by taking the baked bread, soaking it in water, heating and then cooling the mixture, and then letting a spontaneous fermentation take place. This resulted in a very light, slightly tart, beer. So without bread, there may have never been beer.
– Cory King

Rye breads traditionally have a more intense flavor, denser body and richer characteristics than whole-wheat breads. And, as you might imagine, these traits carry over into rye beers as well. The rye lends a spicy, luscious backbone to beer that’s often offset with hops, alcohol or maltiness. My favorite Rye Beer: Founders Red’s Rye P.A.

Whole wheat, when used in bread making, has softer flavors and a fluffier texture than rye breads. Once again, these traits carry over into fine wheat beer examples. American Wheats, German Hefeweizens and Belgian Wits have a light, cloudy white body, with a soothing mouth feel and medium-length finish left by the higher protein content of the wheat. My favorite Wheat Beer: Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse

A doppelbock is a malty, rich, strong German lager that was first produced by monks so they could have something hearty while they fasted during Lent. The monks called it “liquid bread,” because, since they couldn’t bake or eat bread during Lent, they would use the exact same grains that were intended for their bread recipe in the recipe for this beer. My favorite Doppelbock: Ayinger Celebrator

Glenn Bardgett, Annie Gunn’s wine director and a member of the Missouri Wine and Grape Board, weighs in on which wines to drink this month. Check your favorite wine shop or liquor store for availability.

Farrier Presshouse Red 2009 Alexander Valley, Calif. Tasting this delicious blend of merlot, cabernet Franc and cabernet sauvignon, I initially thought it would pair well with barbecue. But on second thought, this $22 comfort red is best with a great braunschweiger and onion sandwich on some wonderful rye bread.

Pair it with rye bread

Iron Horse Wedding Cuveé, Green Valley, Russian River Valley, Calif. Eighty-eight-percent pinot noir adds a touch of color to the bubbly deliciousness of this amazing sparkler. Though this bottle will work with almost any cuisine, its yeasty character made me want a big hunk of San Francisco sourdough. At about $40, it will outshine most bubbles from the French world.

Pair it with sourdough

Qupé Chardonnay Bien Nacido Vineyard Y-Block, 2010, Santa Maria Valley, Calif. If you’re having an English muffin, there’s a good chance that some nice, soft butter isn’t far away. This beauty from Bob Lindquist is barrel-fermented, which loads up the flavor and toasty style, making this $20 white perfect for that warm, toasted muffin far past breakfast.

Pair it with an English muffin