Tag Archives: surly bill

Wine vs. Beer


Things sure have changed in the Twin Cities since I moved here in 2002 and met my husband-to-be in 2003. He had moved here, too, from Seattle. It was quite a change for him not having a bunch of craft brews on tap. His best bet for local beer in the Twin Cities at the time was Summit.

I was more of a wine girl teaching him about wine and he was beer guy turning me into a beer snob.

Carrie meets Rob.

Carrie meets Rob.

Then came the Surly Bill.

Surly is a local craft brewery established right around 2005/2006. The vision to expand into a brewery/restaraunt where they would serve their own pints challenged Minnesota laws. But the bill passed in the spring of 2011.

And many local artisan and craft breweries have been popping up all over the Twin Cities since.

We are so spoiled now!

It used to be that when we’d dine out, we’d order a bottle of wine. However, over the past few years, I’ve learned that the quality has gone down. It’s really hard to find a good value when enjoying wine with a meal.

You all know that I prefer quality over quantity. However, finding a quality wine by the glass is virtually unheard of {more detail on this in the coming weeks}. But most “value” wines by the bottle average about $40 in a restaurant. That’s about $8 to $10 per glass. And buying by the bottle is always the better way to go because you know that the wine hasn’t been sitting around open for days or weeks on end. Besides, most wines by the glass average $7 {if you’re lucky} to $12.

Here in the Twin Cities, local tap beers are a much better value. Well, it’s always been a better value if you are Michelob Golden Draft Light drinker. However, if you want an adult beverage with character to go with your meal, go for a pint of something different.

Ales, nut browns, IPAs, porters and stouts can be intimidating to those who haven’t tried them before. But when you are in a restaurant, there is no better opportunity to try them out, especially here in the Twin Cities. Why?

  • I’ve never had a bar nor restaurant not allow we to have a sample {just a taste} of a beer from the tap before ordering it. In fact, I often forget about it and they offer me one if I inquire about a beer.
  • It’s cheap. Pints these days run about $4 to $7 each. This is much cheaper than a mediocre glass of wine. Some higher alcohol beers will come in smaller glasses, but there’s no complaining as to why.
  • They may not advertise it, but a many bars/restaurants will offer a half-pint.
  • Furthermore, if there are lot of different kinds of beers on taps, a flight or a beer sampler is often offered for a surprisingly low price. Try many styles at once. It’s great for people like me who just can’t decide!
  • Whenever possible, support the locals.

Since beer can be confusing, I will be talking about specific beer types and maybe even reviewing local breweries over the coming months.

But don’t worry, my heart still lies with the wine. It’s just that there’s lots of local crafts to choose from on tap right now when I’m out. And for four pints of excellent local beer, we’ll pay $16 – $28 versus $40 for a bottle of mediocre wine sporting four glasses? It’s kind of a no brainer.

Right now, I’m in beer country… and I’ve learned well that I should drink wine in wine countries and beer in beer countries.

How ’bout you? Beer or Wine? Why?