Matching beer with food is the latest trend, so we did a little snooping into our favourite new coupling
Full throttle flavour
‘There is such an interest in food and drink at the moment, and beer is part of that,’ says Adrian, co-author of Britain’s Beer Revolution . ‘It’s on a par with the interest in cheesemaking, sourdough baking, food carts and coffee roasters – people have woken up to flavour and locality.’ ‘Some of the more innovative brewers are experimenting with ingredients that 10 years ago would have been thought unsuitable for beer,’ he adds.
‘Recently I’ve tried miso porter and a beer aged in tequila barrels with salt and gooseberries in the mix, I’ve tried beers with indecent amounts of hops in them and an IPA aged with cedar wood. If brewers do this sort of thing right then it’s great, but when they add, say, raspberry jam to a beer as a gimmick then that will go down like a lead balloon …’ Adrian concludes.
So what are the winning food and beer combinations? ‘The ﬂavour and spice from a good craft beer can take a dish to the next level – I love the malty, barley bitterness. One of my favourites is fresh local mussels steamed in beer,’ says Ben Palmer, head chef at The Greedy Goose in Plymouth. ‘Beer also adds a great carbonation and yeasty frothiness to a batter, especially when making onion rings or battering fresh fish,’ he says.
Food and beer pairing for beginners
Beer and food pairing is a huge trend right now. We asked beer sommelier Ed Hughes of Sharp’s Brewery for some useful tips …
- Use good glassware. A chalice glass holds the liquid properly and accentuates the aroma.
- When you are eating out, don’t be afraid to ask the front of house team for beer pairing recommendations.
- Match like with like. White fish and chicken work well with lighter ales and lagers, but for darker, richer foods such as lamb, go for dark, rich beers.
- As well as matching food with beer for drinking, use it as an ingredient in recipes for more advanced flavour integration.
- Taste it. Advice from chef Nathan Outlaw, who champions food and beer pairings, is take the time to try the different flavours for yourself. From there the ideas will usually click.