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Throughout history, there are many great examples of things that just work better together…Bangers and Mash, Batman and Robin, Mac and Cheese, Mario and Luigi, Hall and Oates…and of course Beer and Food. Or even better, home brewed beer and home cooked food! There is something so satisfying when you tuck into a home cooked meal, paired with a beer that you have brewed yourself.
I remember the first time I was introduced to the concept of purposely pairing the flavours of certain beer with food dishes, I was a little sceptical. Then my beer and food mentor, the great Chuck Hahn (look him up), gave me a deliciously dark and roast Porter and told me to drink that with a spoonful of Chocolate Mousse.
And so, my love affair with beer and food matching was born. I have written in the past about pairing beer with Chicken Wings and Candy, but today I would like to talk about some of the great food pairings I have tried with my Brewie Pad beers.
But before I go any further, let’s just a do a little bit of Beer & Food Matching – 101. I have always believed that a beer and food match should do one of the 3 C’s.
Match the beer with the flavour of the food you are eating for a double dose of flavour. Think Chocolate Cake with a Choc Porter.
This one is like that old Paula Abdul hit from the 80’s – Opposites Attract. Things that you don’t immediately think will pair well can often bring out a unique taste when combined. The classic one here is Oysters with a Dry Irish Stout.
Cut or Cleanse
Lastly, sometimes you want a beer to be used as a palate cleanser to get your mouth ready for another hit of flavoursome food. Think IPA with spicy curries.
Armed with that little bit of beer and food matching knowledge, let’s look at some of my favourite pairings.
Citrataur SMASH Ale
When you have a beer bursting with citrus aromas and fruity flavours, it is perfect for the summertime…and that means it’s a perfect beer to take to a barbecue with friends. Throw some chicken on the grill that has been rubbed down with your favourite spice and baste it in some delicious barbecue sauce, like with delicious Pineapple BBQ sauce I found in Hawaii recently!
Call Me Grainy Weissbier
My family are mad for Mexican Food, we would cook up Tacos, Enchilladas or Fajitas on a weekly basis. Another favourite of ours are Quesadillas, and these delicious oily and cheesy delights pair fantastically well with the extra bubbly German brew…the extra bubbles cutting through all that oily goodness and preparing your mouth for another bite.
Mills Row Pilsner
A well made Pilsner is a thing of beauty, and the Mills Row is just that. The straw coloured beer with the white pillowy head is a deceptively complex beer with a lot of flavour and a nice bitter finish. Don’t pair this flavoursome beer with anything too light, as the food flavour will be lost. I enjoy Salt ‘n’ Pepper Calamari with my Pilsner, preferably caught fresh that day and seasoned to perfection with Sea Salt and Fresh cracked pepper…delicious.
Hopersonic American IPA
This West Coast IPA is fruity and refreshing without being overly bitter…described as a “Jumble of flavours” by the Brewie team, which can make it difficult to choose which flavour to match with, or give you more options…glass half empty, or glass half full? For this one, I would go for a nice Thai Green Curry…but don’t make it too spicy. The aromatics of the beer and the curry work together with the fruity flavours in the beer, and there is enough bitterness to cleanse the palate and keep you coming back for more.
The Black Mint American Stout
A Mint Stout is a pretty unique beer, a complex flavour combination of chocolate, coffee and mint. You could go many ways with this pairing, but I like the idea of taking the mint flavour to the next level with some Mint Chocolate, or if you don’t like that idea, how about a decadent warm chocolate pudding.
Dark Monk Porter
I love Porters, but they are often overlooked by beer drinkers as they move on to Stouts. Porters are an amazing food match for grilled meats of all styles, but for me, I like to go with something like a Greek Style Roast Lamb, or Lamb Shanks, or maybe a tasty Cheeseburger…oh so many choices!
I recently added some Vanilla Beans to my Dark Monk, and the result was spectacular. If you were to do the same, I would go next level and create a beer floater with some vanilla ice cream actually in the beer!
Well that’s my take on some of the best flavour pairings with the Brewie Pads. How do you like to pair your beers – Compliment, Contrast, or Cleanse. Whichever you choose, it’s hard to go wrong, as it is all about personal preference when it comes to what foods you like to drink your tasty home brewed beer with.
Cheers to great beers!