Sometimes I think that food was created purely to compliment beer (or is it the other way around?).
Either way, the matches you can make between froth and fodder are seriously mind-blowing. Stout and chocolate, Pilsners and fish, spicy Thai and Hefeweizens…. Need I go on?
And if you want to treat your taste buds to the adventure of a lifetime, can I suggest you attend a beer-matching event, purchase a food and beer pairing platter or at least give a few of these suggestions a go at home.
You will never look at beer the same way again.
THE RULES (even though there are no rules)
Choosing flavours that quite simply, work together.
Example: Fish with a light, crisp, citrusy pale-ale. The light flesh of this grilled snapper worked perfectly with the citrus-tang of the James Squire 150 Lashes.
This as you can probably guess is matching beers and food with contrasting tastes. There is a fine line here between contrast and the other C – Clash. But the best part about beer is that it can be quite forgiving so you have a pretty big safety net here.
An example of a contrasting beer match might be a fruity beer such as a German Wheat Beer with a spicy Thai, Indian or Mexican dish. In this pic above I matched a Hefeweizen with a spicy Thai Dish and it was great together. I couldn’t believe how well the fruity banana notes in the Hefeweizen worked with the salt and spice of this chili-crammed seafood dish.
- CUT-THROUGH (or cleanse)
This is reference to one taste cutting through another, cancelling an opponent out and cleansing the palate. Usually with Beer this means the dry bitterness of the hop character cancelling out an oily or creamy opposing taste.
A good example of this would be a hoppy IPA with a creamy cheese. Let’s say a Feral Hop Hog (one of my all time favourite beers) with a rich blue cheese (an incredible combination in my book!). The hoppiness of the IPA will have a strong bitter, dryness that will cut through the creamy cheese
And though the three C’s are a good guide to successful beer-food matching, they are by no means set in stone. Tasting and matching is totally up to your own personal tastes and sometimes flavours in beer fit a dish you would have never imagined.
A good example of this would be Stout and Oysters. The sweet, chocolate, toffee, smoky Stout somehow works perfectly with salty oysters. Who wouldda thought??? It’s a strange world…