Take it home: a Beer World Cup winner and a light Italian white wine

Every Friday, John Wilson selects one great beer and one great wine which are perfect for drinking at the weekend. This week: Eight Degrees Amber Ella and Ascheri Barbera d’Alba 2011 Fontanelle

Eight Degrees Amber Ella American Amber Ale

5.8% €2.49

From one of the most innovative craft breweries in Ireland, a once-off beer that became permanent when it did rather well in beer competitions, first here in Ireland, coming second in the Beoir Beer of the Year 2014 and then winning bronze in the Beer World Cup in America against very stiff competition.

A complex beer, big, rich and malty with tangy orange peel, peach fruits and a nice hoppy bite.


Stockists: Specialist beer off-licences and O'Briens

Ascheri Barbera d’Alba 2011 Fontanelle

14% €15.19

Barbera is often unfairly seen as the poor relation of the revered Nebbiolo grape in Piemonte. In fact, although it is much cheaper, I suspect many people would prefer a light and fruity Barbera to an austere unforgiving tannic Nebbiolo from Barolo or Barberesco. I love the fresh exuberant fresh fruitiness of a good Barbera. The really cheap ones tend to be too acidic and lacking in flavour.

The very expensive ones tend to be aged in too much new oak thereby masking the fruit. But spend €15-€20 and you should have a wine such as this Ascheri – a nicely concentrated but light wine with clean blackberry fruits and low tannins. Perfect with white meats.

Stockists: O'Briens