There is one thing to remember when pairing beer and food. Beer is food. If you can put together a nice meal, you can create a great beer pairing. The principles I’ll share in the next few posts are helpful, but not hard and fast rules. Consider them suggestions, and feel free to experiment. Good pairing can be easy, but mind-blowing pairings might take a little work. But don’t be afraid to be adventurous, that’s when serendipity happens.
A great beer and food pairing can highlight subtle flavors in each other, or it can amplify the flavors you’re already expecting to taste. The best pairings stir emotions, like a biscuity, malty beer that takes me back to my granny’s kitchen and brings back memories or flavors and aromas of her one-of-a-kind biscuits. Sometimes the flavors of the beer and the food combine in a way that helps you sense new flavor interactions that would have been impossible to detect in either the beer or dish alone.
So to start, pair beer and food by considering the intensity of both. The beer shouldn’t overpower the dish, and vice versa. You wouldn’t pair a barleywine with a raspberry vinaigrette salad, nor would you pair a Belgian wit with roast venison. But switch those around and you have two delightful pairings. Of all the suggestions for beer and food pairing, I believe matching intensity is the most important. Generally, you increase intensity as the meal progresses, from salad to appetizer to main course to dessert. There’s a beer for every occasion and cuisine, then fun part is finding it.
Here’s to well paired beer, cheers!