A step by step guide to food and beer pairing
Food and wine matching is something that has baffled the population for years and with the explosion that is the craft beer revolution the pairing of beer and food is causing the same confusion. As always we’re on hand to help you out.
This week’s blog is your handy guide on matching food and beer to set your tastebuds popping.
Strong food needs a strong beer
Strong in this sense doesn’t necessarily mean alcohol, and in the case of curry definitely doesn’t. A light and delicate fish dish would be more suited to a lager. A strong Sunday roast is more suited to a stout or bitter, whereas curry is very well suited to an IPA with a higher IBU (international bittering units) measurement.
The rule here is to find a beer that will stand up to the food but won’t overpower it. If you pair a lager with something too rich you aren’t amplifying the properties of either element. If you pair that self-same lager with Fish and Chips, for example, the two will complement each other really well.
Find the common ground
If there are particularly strong flavours present in the beer that are also present in the food then you’re going to be on to a winner. A perfect example of this would be Samuel Smith’s Chocolate Stout with a Black Forest Gateau or a Chocolate Fondant. The beer is rich enough to stand up to the richness of the food and the complimenting flavours will work together.
Just like when matching food and wine there are predictable reactions between certain food and beer elements. If you make sure you’re aware of these reactions you can balance beer and food really well.
Chilli heat will be emphasized by higher alcohol levels, and vice versa. If you like hot food this could be a good thing. If you prefer it a bit milder, however, a sweeter or maltier beer would be better, like a light Belgian golden ale.
Foods that are very rich or sweet, or even have a lot of umami, require some hop bitterness or a higher carbonation level to balance. A higher ABV could even help in this situation.
This is another situation where the fish and chips example is ideal. The high fat level of the food is “cut” by the higher carbonation of the lager.