Beer AND Wine? Meet a Hybrid That’s Making Headlines

Beer and Wine Hybrid

Can’t decide if you love wine or beer more? You might not need to.

Figueroa Mountain Brewing & Margerum Wine are two Buellton, California-based companies that have joined forces to create and sell a one-of-a-kind drink: a wine/beer hybrid called Bieré de Ménage. This hybrid beer-wine is available exclusively through Whole Foods and is meant to be the first of several collaborations under the Fig Mtn Brew’s Liquamentum series.

We talked to Douglas Margerum of Margerum Wine Company to understand what this new hybrid is all about and why you need to try it.

Q: Can you tell our readers how the idea of a beer and wine hybrid was born?

DM: Margerum Wine Company and Figueroa Mountain Brewery are literally steps away from each other on Industrial Way in Buellton. The old adage is true: It takes a lot of beer to make great wine and we at MWC love their beer. We love their beer and they love our wine – serving it by the glass to their patrons who are more keen to having a glass of wine while visiting.

The first batch we did with Fig was a Margerum Grenache blended with an Amber Ale, barrel aged and then served on tap at the brewery – it instantly sold old. I know they have done other batches with other wineries as well.

Q: Where are these hybrids available? Is this an exclusive deal with Whole Foods?

DM: Whole Foods, hearing of the success of our initial blend, asked if they could do a blend and bottle it for their customers. Figueroa’s idea at the time was to blend Margerum Sauvignon Blanc with a Figueroa Ale. As a result, a bunch of Whole Foods beer specialists, Margerum Wine Company people, and the Figueroa team split into teams of five and each made their own blend.

A blind taste-off of the various blends was done to determine a winner – in actuality the blends were all very close in percentages as there was a natural balance between the beer and the wine that was perceived by all. The result: a Belgian-style beer blended with Sauvignon Blanc that was called Bieré de Ménage and was sold exclusively through Whole Foods.

Q: What is the hybrid like?

DM: It’s interesting and delicious. Refreshing, bright and clean. The nuances of the Sauvignon Blanc really elevated the aromatics and added to, by spreading out on the palate, the flavors and textures of the beer by making it less ponderous.

Q: What’s involved in producing such a hybrid, since brewing wine and beer is so different? What’s the process like?

DM: Well, the mix consists of almost finished wine – meaning it was dry but still turbid and a bit gassy from fermentation — and almost-finished beer. They need to marry and acclimate in barrel before being processed and bottled – all of that is done at Fig.

Q: Are you offering just one type of hybrid? Any plans on bringing more hybrids to the market?

DM: We would love to continue to join in this effort with our neighbors. I do believe Fig has plans to make what they call their Liquamentum series, which will become its own brand. I’m sure Margerum will be involved in more unique beer-wine hybrids in the future as well.

Diana Bocco is a writer and author who writes for Yahoo!, the Discovery Channel website, Marie Claire, Poplar Mechanics, and more. You can find more about her work on her website

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