Come summer and we are ready to pop open a beer bottle, anytime! Opening a cold beer is the code to relaxing and having some downtime. And how do we snack along with beer? Well, it’s the typical Indian way–with roasted peanuts, masala papad, and kebabs that we lovingly address as, chakhnas. Well, these chakhnas can even put packaged chips and deep-fried grub to shame. Beer, by nature, is an easy-going alcobev that pairs well with any cuisine. But if you do not have great food to go along with your booze, it is pretty much a miserable experience. Well, the modern-day beer culture focuses on enhancing the flavours of the beer that goes beyond our typical chakhna choices. Here’s an easy guide to elevate your beer-food pairings:
Various Food Can Complement The Unique Flavours Of Beer
Beer and food pairing is actually a topic of interest and discussion among beer enthusiasts and professionals in the culinary and beverage industries. Thanks to the enthusiasm of brewers, restaurateurs, and consumers of flavourful craft brews, beer has reclaimed its rightful place on our dinner tables.
The world of beer and food pairing is quite eventful too. “When pairing beer and food, I think about what flavour profiles will complement and enhance each other but also if the flavour contrast against each other,” guides Victoria, International Franchise Manager at BrewDog. Still, it is important to learn some handy tricks for marrying your beer with your food to get the best out of your drinking experience.
So, What To Pair With Your Choice Of Beer?
It’s vital to keep in mind that while these drinks offer a variety of flavours and notes, from citrus to aromatic, each one might taste different to each individual when deciding how to match beer with food. Experts advise that while combining food with beer, the flavours should always be in contrast, complement each other, and aid to clear the palette.
“The main flavour profiles to consider are sweetness, saltiness, fattiness, acidity and bitterness. So sweet contrasts with salt; fat contracts with acidity whilst salt and acidity complement as does sweetness and fattiness,” Victoria says. Simply known as the 3 Cs of beer-food pairing: colour, contrast, and complement.
These principles can help guide the selection of beers that will enhance the flavours of different types of food:
- Lighter beers like pale lagers or wheat beers tend to have milder flavours and pair well with lighter foods such as salads, seafood, or delicate cheeses.
- Darker beers like stouts or porters often have richer and bolder flavours that can complement heartier dishes like grilled meats or chocolate desserts.
- Pairing a sweet or malty beer with spicy or savoury foods can provide a contrasting flavour profile that complements the dish.
- A malty and caramel-flavoured beer with a roasted meat dish can create a harmonious combination of flavours.
Victoria further adds, “A favourite dish of mine to make is Cauliflower Korma–made with lashings of yoghurt, honey, almonds, oven roasted cauliflower, spiced with cardamom, coriander, cumin and garam masala and finished with
pan tossed sultanas and flaked almonds. I often pair this with a classic American hopped pale ale, it has to be perfectly balanced, refreshing, and fruity with just a hint of light malt sweetness. It’s crisp enough to cut through the sweet, milky yoghurt base sauce, whilst fresh, bitter hops magnify warming spices. ”
Conversations Around Beer-Food Pairings Are Gaining Prominence
For generations, if you asked a server what drink to choose for a certain dish, he would call over the sommelier, and a discussion about wine bottles would follow. But there has been a paradigm shift, and now beer is more than just an afterthought on the menu.
“I think we’re continuing to see more and more drinking of beer with food. There is no doubt, however, that is more room in the sector for further promotion of pairing beer with food,” she agrees.
Actually, beer has an amazing capacity to pair with all kinds of foods. As a result, beer sommeliers and beer-and-food-tasting events have multiplied exponentially. What works with beer the most is that, it is more food-friendly than wine is. There is certainly more room for flavour variety. Beermakers can experiment with barley, hops, and yeast, as well as spices, nuts, chocolate, fruits, and vegetables.
“We can do bringing this change s by asking for beer lists when in restaurants, asking for their recommendations, hosting beer and food pairing tasting sessions and continuing to share our passion and knowledge with everyone. The appetite is most definitely there and I think those of us in the industry are on the front line of delivering these amazing experiences which excite and educate people on the delight of beer (and food!),” she suggests.
Personal preferences and experimentation also play a significant role in finding the perfect beer-food pairing. The goal is to find combinations that bring out the best in both the beer and the food, enhancing the overall enjoyment of the meal.
So, which is your favourite beer-food pairing?
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