What do you get when you put together a highly regarded sommelier and a craft brewer? You get a very entertaining evening of good food and beverages as well as good-natured banter about the attributes of the wine and beer and how well each pairs with particular foods. Sam Calagione, founder of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, and Marnie Old, award-winning sommelier and wine educator, put their talents and impressive knowledge of wine and beer together to create an accessible and informative book about pairing beer and wine with food.
The book, recently released by DK Publishing, is a spin off from the “competitive dinners” that Old and Calagione started in 2003 at his brewpub in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Each evening offers a five course meal, and each course comes with both a beer and a wine pairing. Using anonymous ballots, the diners vote for the best pairing for each course, and though both Marnie and Sam thought there would be a clear winner, that has never been the case. The margins have been slim, and the number of wins for either side has been pretty even, strong evidence that beer and wine both pair well with a variety of foods.
The book presents information in five sections, including brief primers on both wine and beer, as well as the main section dedicated to pairing food. There is a handful of recipes in the final section, and of course each comes with suggestions for good beers and wines to enjoy with the food. The folks at DK always do a great job with their full-color books, and this effort certainly fits in with their style. There are some lovely, bright photos of wine, beer, and food that compliment the text well, and of course Sam and Marnie keep up their friendly banter about the relative merits of wine and beer throughout.
I found the book enjoyable and informative. I was in my early to mid 30s before I acquired a taste for beer, but I’ve enjoyed wine for a long time, and I’ve tried to pick up some knowledge here and there, especially while Michael and I were on our honeymoon in Germany. (Aside: We chose Germany because we wanted to go to Oktoberfest, and we arranged our whole trip so that we could be there for opening day. Oktoberfest started off as a wedding celebration in 1810, and we had a great time celebrating our honeymoon there! Well, and everywhere else we went in Germany! Good beer, good wine, traveling throughout Germany. What more could you want?)
Yes, that’s me, before children and gray hairs, sipping from that huge mug of beer in Munich! Good times! We don’t have any pictures of us sipping wine, but trust me when I say we sampled plenty! (Just so you know, Marnie looks so much more elegant in her book photos than I do with that big mug in my face!)
Ok, enough of my babbling, now for the give away! This is my first time to host a give away here and I’m excited!
I have two copies of this fun book to share with my readers. If you want to win your own copy of He Said Beer, She Said Wine, leave a comment below telling us your favorite wine and/or beer. Please make sure your email address is correct so I can contact you if you are one of the lucky winners. Apologies to my international readers, but the books can only be shipped within the continental U.S. Contest closes at 6 P.M. EST on April 27, and I’ll have Random.org select the winner. Look for the announcement of the winners in this post soon after.
UPDATE: Congratulations to our winners, Michelle M and waynebretski! A copy of He Said Beer, She Said Wine is on it’s way to you!
And if you want to catch up with Sam and Marnie, check out their websites for details on appearances, book signings, and other events. They are coming to DC in the middle of May and I may have to check out that event!