Food has an Old Companion – Beer

Posted by BeerMaven | Food & Beer | Posted on January 16th

Believe it or not, a poor beer choice during a meal can ruin your eating or drinking experience. Specific flavors in beer serve to bring out or suppress the flavors in your food and choosing a microbrew that does not properly compliment your meal could result in an unfair judgment against the beer or the food. In the United States, it is common to serve all beer cold and not to consider how the flavors interact with foods, but when you begin to journey into the realm of craft beers and microbrews, you must respect your beer.

Unless I am looking for simple refreshment, I consider the food I plan to eat when I search for beer online. For example, hop bitterness will balance out extremely sweet food or fatty and rich foods such as a thick steak or a chocolate truffle. For this reason, I consider a nice dry stout such as Guinness to be the perfect companion to a chocolaty dessert or a thick steak. I personally like to drink hoppy beers such as India pale ales or bitter stouts with spicy foods— as the bitterness actually brings out the spicy flavor in the food— but if you are looking to tame the spice in your food, a golden ale would better suit your needs.

Wheat ales and the classic hefeweizens and witbiers go extremely well with lighter meals. They bring out the flavors in seafood and go well with salads, but will get overpowered if you make them a companion to any rich or spicy food. When eating grill foods, like a burger, I find that there is no better pairing than a nice pale ale microbrew! Ultimately, you will have to do a little bit of experimenting to determine which beers work with your favorite foods, but knowing not to pair a light and sweet beer with a spicy food will prevent you from making the obvious errors in beer judgment.

Any beer of the month club will have information about pairing beer with food. The Brewers Association has a chart that I like to use as a loose guideline as well. Once you begin to discover your own tastes, you will get a feel for what beer and food pairings work best for you specifically. I personally have the tendency to drink several different beers throughout the course of a meal— a nice witbier to go with the salad and hors d’oeuvres, a porter to go with a peppered roast, and an Imperial stout to go with a dark chocolate truffle.

Are you thirsty yet? I sure am!

Leave a Reply