Much is made of the pairing of food with wine or beer. There’s nothing like a hearty Cab with a thick cut steak. It’s a smooth Guiness that best foils the crisped fat of a hamburger. And though there are volumes written about which white wine plays best with curried chicken, there seems to be little written about the pairing of beverages with certain events.
Beer and wine—they’re stage setters. Each sets a particular tone, whether casual or formal, romantic or festive. And in the same way one would not sing “God Bless America, ” on Christmas Eve, there are particular events which seem to implicitly exclude the serving of either beer or wine.
Allow me to bolster this near-absolute with a bit of a multiple choice quiz.
Question 1: It’s football season and you’ve been invited to a tailgate party at State University. You are told that there should be plenty to drink, but that you might bring a little extra to ensure your vocal chords are appropriately lubricated for the evening kickoff. The menu consists of brats, dogs, and Mrs. Henke’s German potato salad. Excited, you don your State U jersey and drive to the local spirit shop. Do you:
a) Grab a case of Pabst Blue Ribbon, knowing that your State University team is prone to losing and the tailgate goers are going to need an extra bit of cheap motivation to stick it out through four quarters;
b) Pick up a bottle of semi-dry riesling, thinking that perhaps the sweetness will act as a worthy foil to the full flavored pork sausage. And, and after all, it’s always good idea to pair German food with German wine;
c) Snatch a case of your favorite IPA, thinking that perhaps one or two others will appreciate the hop bombs you’re dropping on the party; or
d) Either a or c (and if you are ambitious, both a and c).
Question 2: It’s Friday Night and the in-laws have taken the kids for the weekend. Your wife calls you at the office and tells you that she’s cooked your favorite meal and lit a few candles. You can hear Barry White playing in the background when she says, “We don’t have anything to drink tonight. Will you stop and pick up something to set the mood?” Do you:
a) Purchase that bottle of Honig cabernet sauvignon, the one that reminds you of the anniversary trip to Napa Valley;
b) Buy two large bottles of Left Hand’s Milk Stout, thinking it to be a good pairing with the silky soul of Barry White;
c) Walk to the chilled wine section and pick up a bottle (or two) of champagne for toasting a night without the Spider-man cartoons and Barbie tea parties;
d) Both a and c.
It’s true, isn’t it? Wine and beer lend themselves to different kinds of occasions, pair differently with different moments. That brings us to today’s poetry prompt. Can you pen a found poem about the perfect wine or beer event? Draw from past experiences, or create the poetic experience from whole cloth. Whatever you do, though, convince us of the merits of your event/beverage pairing.
And, in case you were wondering, the appropriate answer for each question above is d. It would take some strong rhetorical skills to convince me otherwise.
Tweetspeak’s October Beer and Wine Prompt:
This month’s found poem theme at Tweetspeak is Beer and Wine, and we’re using words and phrases from beer and wine related products, articles, or musings as the prompt. We’d love you to join with is. How do you participate?
1. Grab a cold one or a bottle of wine, a magazine article relating to beer or wine, or your favorite short story touching on the subject.
2. Arrange a found poem containing words from the products. Make sure your poems touch on themes of beer or wine.
3. Tweet your poems to us. Add a #TSCheers hashtag so we can find it and maybe share it with the world.
4. If you aren’t a twitter user, leave your found poem here in the comment box.
5. Each week we’ll share a few of the poems. At the end of the month, we’ll choose a winning poem and ask the winner to record his or her poem to be featured in one of our upcoming Weekly Top 10 Poetic Picks.
Last week Glynn Young shared his wonderful tasting note/food-pairing poem, entitled Wines and October. Although he suffered some stiff competition from the likes of Robbie Pruitt (and others), I picked Glynn’s poem as my favorite. It didn’t hurt that he reference Arkansas’ sister state, Missouri. He writes:
Wines and October
You tell me it has faint strokes of citrus,
and I wonder how citrus could find
its way into Missouri clay, but it does.
Or that robust suggestions of cherry,
black currant and toffee (toffee?),
punctuated by smoky oak and pepper,
will splash my palate well with pasta,
grilled meats and Brie. But a hint
of cigar? Down my throat?
Accompaniment to duck and steak
and meaty stews replete with fatte
I think not; instead, I will sit atop
this hill of stones, this mount of pleasant,
my glass of Oregon redness in my hand
inhaling its silky smoothness,
its ripe black fruits and rich suppleness,
and turn my eyes to the sun.
Thanks, Glynn! And thanks to all of you who participated. I hope you’ll join in again this week!
Now, let’s brew some creativity and see what we can uncork! Who’s first?
Photo by Beraldo Leal, Creative Commons via Flickr. Post by Seth Haines.
Buy a year of Every Day Poems, just $2.99 — Read a poem a day, become a better poet. In October we’re exploring the theme Wine and Beer.
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Seth – thanks for featuring my poem! Perhaps I have a future as a wine poet.
Maureen Doallas says
Advice for Perfect Matches
Pairing off is both trial and error,
takes time to get just right.
You don’t want to kill off
what flavors the relationship.
If yours is a salty tongue, maybe
prosciutto wrapped ’round melon,
uncork a dry and grapey Muscat,
and breathe through the first course.
Try checking raw oysters’ metallic
edges with Muscadet’s tart citrus.
If your amuse-bouche is to send
your loved one spicey notes, pour
him old Burgundy while plumbing
musky, earthy depths of black truffles.
Never worry over low and underrated
cru Beaujolais; it shows its character
against your simplest chicken roast.
Please don’t forget that you must always
save the best for last: that French kiss
of sweet Barsac with Granny Smith apple
gelee. Either can go it alone but getting
to the finish together takes your breath away.
Megan Willome says
Question No. 1: Can I bring my own food, too? As to the beer, it depends on who is hosting the tailgate party as to whether I trust their choices of beer. (I always trust my family.)
Question No. 2: My husband doesn’t drink, so it’s whatever I want. (And our kids now screen movies for us.)
L. L. Barkat says
Seth, you crack me up. 🙂
Loved the quizzes.
I aim to please…
When will the grades be posted? 😉
haha … great post! Love the homework!
I got inspired, in a Cajun sort of way. http://faithfictionfriends.blogspot.com/2012/10/art-form-with-beer.html