I recently had a discussion with a beer partisan—really more of a monologue by me— about the often repeated yet incorrect comparison of pinnacle-of-fresh 'wet-hopped' beers to wine's jejune Beaujolais Nouveau.
Then, I saw this quote, attributed to Vinnie Cilurzo of Russian River, on Stan Hieronymous' blog:
Orval elevates beer to a level of wine in that it can age, and change, and be a different beer. In a way that is what we are trying to do with a lot of our beers.
I don't mean to call out that beer partisan, a fan of good beer, or Mr. Cilurzo, a brewer of good beer, but we beer enthusiasts need to get over our creeping wine envy.
Wine is wine. Beer is beer; it's a damn fine beverage all by itself. There is no need to 'embiggen' beer by elevating it to a state of almost being like wine.
Doing so, indeed, diminishes beer.
Heironymous in turn mentioned a post by Lew Bryson.
Lew had recently drunk the Trappist beer Orval, while over there, in Europe. At his blog, he figuratively exclaimed—"I've never had this beer before"—astonished by the beer's freshness. Others usually extol Orval only after wine-ishly aging it.
I delight—back here in the USA—in Orval with all of its feral Brettanomyces yeast character and hoppy dryness.
But I envy Mr. Bryson, who tasted it fresh!