The Ultimate Beer And Food Pairing
Whether you are a beer connoisseur or just a casual drinker, pairing your favorite brew with the right food is an essential part of your meal. Beer and food pairing is a science that involves matching different qualities of each drink to the tastes, aromas and textures of the foods you are eating. The goal is to create a balanced, harmonious dish.
1. Match The Flavors
The ultimate beer and food pairing is all about the flavors. While it may seem like a simple thing, matching the right flavor of your food with the right taste of your beer can completely transform your meal. There are two main ways to do this: contrast and complement. Contrasting flavors are those that stand out against other tastes in the dish or drink. For example, a salty oyster contrasts well with a milk stout beer. Complementing is a more subtle approach. This involves matching the aromas and flavors of the food and beer together. For example, if you’re eating a cheese that has a sour taste, you’ll want to pair it with a beer that has a similar sour flavor. Often, these types of matching projects can be tricky to get right. They can take a lot of time, especially if the flavorist isn’t used to matching.
2. Match The Body
Whether you’re hosting an intimate dinner party or enjoying a night with friends, beer can make the difference between an average meal and an unforgettable one. In fact, it can elevate just about any dish to a whole new level! Matching the body of your beer to the food you’re serving is a great way to ensure both flavors don’t overpower each other. Generally, lighter lagers and pilsners pair well with fresh, light dishes while richer foods are better with robust beers. Acidity is another important factor when matching the body of your beer to your dish. If your dish has a lot of salt or richness, an acidic brew will help cleanse the palate and bring out more of the flavor.
3. Match The Temperature
There are no hard and fast rules for pairing beer and food, but the basic principle is to match both the temperature and intensity of the flavors in the beer with those in the food. You want to pair a light dish with a light beer, and rich foods with heavy beers that have strong flavors. When matching a flavor, you’ll have to think about sweetness, bitterness, carbonation, and heat (spice). These qualities interact in a predictable way. If you’re serving a dish that has a lot of sweet or fatty richness, the beer can cut through those flavors and make them more manageable. Hop bitterness, sugars, roasted or toasted malts, and alcohol can all work together to do this. This can be particularly helpful for pairing sour and tart beers with cheese, as the acidity cuts through the sharpness of the cheese. It also works great for pairing fried foods with lagers, as the clean taste of the beer helps to cut through the fat in these dishes.
4. Match The Intensity
When it comes to pairing beer and food, there are some basic guidelines you need to follow. One is to match the intensity of the dish with that of the beer. This is a simple concept, but it can be tricky to get right. An intensely dark barleywine with high levels of bitterness, alcohol warming, and flavor may overpower delicate sushi, for instance. But if the dish is rich and spicy with a lot of fat, sugar, or acidity, you can pair it with a light lager, which cuts through the intense flavors without overpowering them. A milk stout pairs well with chocolate cake, for example. An American Pale Ale is a natural palate refresher and blends easily with a rosemary creamed chicken dish.