We know, getting a good pairing for both beer and food can be difficult. Just think, there are so many different forms of beers out there! But, if you can come up with some solid beer and food pairings for your restaurant or bar, you will find good profits in your sales.
The better way to do so would be to know what flavors you are serving in your menu and then find the beer that amplifies that taste. This is better than choosing individual food items for beers. If you keep reading this article, you will find out how to manage good beer and food pairings that will spice up your establishment.
Definition Of Tastes In Beer In Beer And Food Pairings
If you are trying to explain how a beer tastes, there are a few terms that you will have to use. Given below are the terms and their basic definitions to help you understand how to describe beer properly.
Hoppiness is usually a term used by people to discuss if the beer is bitter or not. But that is not always the case. The taste of this form of beer comes only when the hops are added while brewing. If the hops are added way too early into the brewing process, then the beer is going to be extremely bitter.
Several types of beer are classified as bitter, although the amount of bitterness keeps varying between the different styles. There are several breweries throughout the country who rate the bitterness of their beers with an IBU number.
Barley grain produces malt, and this malt is roasted before adding to the main brew. When barley is roasted, the beer gets a nutty flavor along with a very toasty aroma. Also, when the process of roasting starts, the sugars start caramelizing inside the barley, which brings out the caramel taste of the beer.
Beer can also taste dark- it need not always reflect the color of the beer. Dark beers have historically been made with malt grain that keeps getting roasted until it reaches the desired color. Since the beer is usually roasted far longer than malty beers, they have a much heavier and richer taste.
Lights beers are usually considered to be refreshing since they have a crisp and clean taste that is much liked by beer patrons throughout the country. Most of these light beers also have very low alcohol content.
Guidelines For Beer And Food Pairings
The first thing you have to understand is that there aren’t so many rules about this game. There aren’t many flavors that clash with beers, so you can have some pretty solid beer and food pairings. But, if you really want to get the best out of your pairing, you might as well use the beer to enhance the flavor of the food. In that case, there are certain guidelines you should keep in mind.
If you want to make a good beer and food pairing, contrast plays a big role in it. You need to choose one beer or food that gives a strong flavor that can either be rich, sweet, or oily. And the other item has to have a taste that will simply cut through that flavor without overpowering the first.
If you can complement the different flavors that are associated with beer and food pairings, you won’t need anything else. Richly flavored foods need to be matched with equally flavorful beer. On the other hand, light tasting food items need to be associated with light beers.
Beer can also be used as a palate cleanser. This beer and food pairing is going to be perfect for dishes that have a highly overpowering flavor- something like greasy fried food or spicy Indian food.
- Avoiding Overpowering Flavors
You should keep in mind the flavor level that is going to be present in your beer and food pairings. Most of the dark or medium beers have quite a rich flavor that might overpower certain dishes. This is something you might as well avoid.
Pairing Based on Style
The differences in beer come from their alcohol content, taste, color, and mouthfeel, so if you are thinking of having a good beer and food pairing, you need to first understand the different varieties of beer.
Light lagers are the most common pale beer available in the USA. They are quite famous for their refreshing yet crispy taste. Most of the light lagers don’t have a very strong flavor- nor are they usually very bitter or hoppy. There are several brands that sell this form of beer.
Since light lagers have a flavor that is refreshing, the best beer and food pairing would be with spicy dishes. But, with the light flavor, it goes well with most dishes. You can give the light lager a try along with French fries, Buffalo wings, noodles, hot dogs, and fried fish.
Wheat beers are mostly created with a mixture of both barley and wheat grains. This gives the beer its lighter carbonation and smoother texture. The wheat in itself doesn’t really add a lot to the flavor, so there have been instances of brewers adding citrus and other flavorings to this form of beer.
Since wheat beers are amongst the most versatile of beers, one can easily pair them with a lot of food items. They mostly go well with spicy noodles, Buffalo wings, fruit tarts, salads, and pastries.
India Pale Ales
IPAs have slowly turned into the most popular craft beers in the brewing scene. Usually, IPAs consist of a color that is medium amber, along with a taste that is very bitter. Since it is quite important to make this bitter taste slightly more palatable, brewers usually include herbal tones and citrus into the mix.
Since there are so many IPAs in the market, a beer and food pairing with this beer wouldn’t really be all that difficult. Yet, there are a few beer and food pairings that go amazingly well with IPAs. Some of them include French fries, barbecue ribs, steak, mozzarella sticks, and burritos.
Amber ales usually are portrayed through colors that go all the way from amber to deep reddish-gold. These beers have a strong malty flavor, along with sweet caramel notes that complement the malt taste. Yet, these beers don’t seem to have an extremely sweet flavor, with several of these ales having a dry finish. It must be said that although the hop flavor isn’t that strong, it does give a flowery aroma to the beer.
Since Amber ales have a crisp and dry finish, most of these beers are excellent for cleansing one’s palate. Therefore, some of the food items that would go perfectly with this beer are barbecue pulled pork, pizza, brisket, and jerk chicken.
Dark lagers are extremely different from light lagers in their taste. This beer is usually concocted through roasted malts and has caramel syrup added to it. The malts which are roasted provide a nutty flavor to the beer, with the sweetness from the caramel not overpowering it.
This beer is extremely popular in Europe and usually compliments a whole host of traditional dishes. They usually go well with goulash, sausage, bangers and mash, pizza, and burgers.
These beers aren’t as bitter or hoppy as other beers but have subtle tones of chocolate and coffee that are usually added to porters and stouts. Also, the brown ales that are of English variety have a nutty and dry flavor. This disenchants modern beer patrons who would rather have that hoppiness in their drink.
Brown ales are always a good option when it comes to different beer and food pairings. The few dishes that would go well with this chocolate flavored beer are roast pork, sausage, fish, barbecue, and sushi.
Porters have their origin in London and have gone through major changes over the centuries. Today, porters are much milder in their taste and are available in quite a large variety of flavors. Porters have historically been made with brown malts that are roasted to bring out the strong notes of caramel, coffee, and chocolate.
Since this drink has quite a deep and rich flavor, any food pairing with porters will need to be of the same taste. Some of them include crab, lobster, barbecue, and Mexican mole.
All that you need to see while working on beer and food pairings is that the two items end up making the meal heavenly for the consumer. You don’t have to follow any rule book- simply use the trial and error method until you hit gold.