Sometime ago, my wife’s family and I went for dinner at Pilu at Freshwater, in Sydney. It was generally enjoyable, and the restaurant is widely recognised as having Australia’s best wine list, a fair statement when you peruse said impressive wine list (pdf).
But the beer list is ordinary, and almost insulting next to the wine list. Pilu aren’t making any claims about their beer list, it should be said, but the dismissive treatment of ales is indicative of a wider trend among (some) restaurants and sommeliers for whom there is a divide between beer and wine (or assumptions about their demographic).
I rather take the line of thought that suggests that both wine and beer are so diverse; with depth of style, flavour, and pairing; and ability of their brewers and purveyors, that being dismissive of one field or the other is erroneous and naive.
As such, it was refreshing to see an article titled Beer Me, Sommelier over at Slate, the conclusion of which is as follows:
Like great wine, great beer deserves well-trained people who can build a strong collection of barrels and bottles, and know how pair them well. Many restaurants and bars have a long way to go, but the example of people like Engert and Daniels points the way to an auspicious future. A well-chosen and expertly-paired beer can be a revelation, so it’s time for more establishments to get their people in the revealing business.