Pairing beer with food
Serving food with beer means each bite tastes as good as the first.
- The carbonation in beer cleanses the palate and prepares it for what is to come next. Unlike wine, which coats the mouth.
- Food rich in flavour is enhanced by beer. Beer subtly complements sweets, it tempers spicy foods, and it lifts oils (from salad dressing, dips and soups) from your palate preparing you for the next bite.
- Beer pairs well with everything. Chicken teriyaki, grilled steak, quinoa and arugula salad – different meals prepared with different flavours – yet all pair great with beer.
Beer is rich in flavour yet low in alcohol content at an average of 5% alcohol by volume.
- The moderate level of alcohol in beer makes it a great choice at social events.
- Beer is an excellent choice to accompany meals where different drink parings are served.
- Light crisp beers are a refreshing choice in warm weather while fuller flavoured beers can be a comforting selection when the temperature dips.
Pairing beer and food is easy:
- There are three basic considerations when pairing beer and food:
- Cut - offset a food's dominant flavors by choosing the right beer. Heavily buttered duck can be cut well with a light pilsner.
- Contrast - highlight flavors in food by finding a beer with a distinctly different taste, like barbecued steak contrasted with a pale ale.
- Complement - pair food and beer styles go together 'naturally‘. Belgian ale complements a chocolate dish incredibly well.
Match intensity and strength - pair delicate dishes with delicate beers and strongly-flavored foods with assertive beers. The beer should be matched with the strongest flavors on the plate (preparation, protein or sauce).
Compare beer to wine – think of lagers as white wines and ales as red wines. Ales tend to be fruity and robust, and lagers are crisp and comparatively delicate.
Pouring & Glassware
There should be at least two fingers of foam when finished pouring a beer into a glass. All brewmasters agree that beer head is desirable. The head holds the flavour of the beer in the glass, ensuring a fuller taste and a smoother more drinkable beer.
When pouring a beer from a bottle or can into a glass vessel, hold the glass upright on the table and allow the beer to splash down the centre of the glass. If the head is building up too quickly, decrease the flow and let it slide down the side of the glass. If the head is not growing fast enough, turn the bottle or can perpendicular over the glass and allow the remainder of the beer to splash down and froth around.
Here are some simple rules for glassware that will improve the beer drinking experience:
- Beer glasses should only be used for beer. Do not serve beer in glasses that have been used for milk, tea, coffee, soda, or any other liquid. Otherwise there will be fat residue on the inside of the glass that will kill the beer head.
- Always serve beer in a wet glass. If the glass is dry it will have picked up some dust or other foreign matter that cannot be seen. Rinse the glass in pure, cold water and shake out excess before pouring the beer.
- Never wash a beer glass with soap. The fat from soap leaves invisible traces on the glass, no matter how much it is cleaned and rinsed. This will diminish the beer head.
- Never dry a beer glass. No matter how carefully and thoroughly the drying is done, lint and other foreign particles will adhere to the inside of the glass. Instead of drying the glass, rinse it in cold water, turn it upside down and let the water drain out.