Beer and food offer infinite gastronomic possibilities. Top restaurants throughout Europe are including more and more beer options on their menus. Some are holding special beer-and-cuisine events and tasting menus to encourage awareness in cities ranging from Amsterdam to Rome. And there are even sommeliers at select venues to help diners choose the perfect beer to enhance their gastronomic experience.
With aroma, flavour and colour to play with, the subtle combinations are nearly limitless.
Finding the perfect partner
Harmony is the key to the perfect beer-food pairing. And harmony is found either in complement or contrast. Be bold. Experiment. Here are just a very few ideas to get the ball rolling.
- A Pilsner lager perfectly complements the delicate tastes and textures of seafood. Lighter summer foods, such as chicken, salmon and salads, also find their perfect counterparts in cool refreshing lagers.
- Lagers can cleanse as well as complement a whole range of foods. The carbonation in lager means it’s perfect for cutting through the richness of foods with a higher fat content. With richer foods you can go darker still. A beer with a bit more body, such as an English pale ale, just loves to get together with mature English cheeses such as Cheddar.
- A citrus note in the White Beer marrying with the lime-infused monkfish of the Ceviche.
- Most of us know that beer goes best with spicy cuisines, such as Indian, Thai or Mexican. It’s just what you need to cool and refresh the palette, and stand up to the fiery assault of the spices. A special lager fits perfectly.
- Pairing an Indian Pale Ale (IPA) with a curry offers a history lesson as well as a classic beer-food marriage.
- Dark, heavy Porters match well with strong meaty dishes, such as stews, duck, or smoked sausages. But there is a tradition of pairing Porters and Stouts with oysters. The salty tang of oysters works joyously with the sweet maltiness of the beer.
- Fruit beers are hugely versatile. They go with salads, soft white cheeses, and sweet and sour dishes.
- If it’s chocolate you crave, then heighten the experience with a full creamy Stout. The coffee-note bitterness of the beer enhances and adds extra depth to the richness of everybody’s favourite indulgence.
We’ve only scratched the surface of what’s possible when you start to match good food with good beer. Pairing the right dishes offers infinite opportunities for bringing together some of the best things in life.