Many beers have as much complexity as fine wine and have a powerful influence over the flavors of a meal. The next time you are in charge of the cooking, take a little extra time with your beer pairing and create an epic gastronomic experience for your guests.
Beer and Barbecue
Beer is synonymous with barbecues in the United States, and good barbecue deserves a good companion drink. For a nice complement to rich, smoky meats, consider one of the following brews:
-Stouts or strong bitters
-Dark ales or porters
-Unfiltered dark Belgian ales
-A hoppy pale lager
On the other hand, a clean, crisp lager is always a great accompaniment to the strong flavors of barbecue. While it doesn’t add much to the experience, it does let the flavors of the food stand out.
Fish and Beer Pairing
Clear lager beers are not the only choice when it comes to fish. While a crisp lager will work for the same reasons it works for barbecue, fish flavors cover a broad spectrum. The right beer enhances these flavors. Try one of the following for smoked or pan-cooked salmon, halibut or catfish.
-Japanese rice lagers
-Red or blonde ale (the smooth texture is a nice contrast to strong seafood flavors)
-Belgian Witbier (this unfiltered wheat ale adds great complexity to the meal)
-Maibock (a strong beer that can overpower in excessive quantities. Pair with richly flavored dishes)
Dessert and Beer? Yes!
Wine lovers happily pair a variety of wines and fortified wines with dessert, so why shouldn’t beer lovers do the same? The choices are certainly available. Here are a few excellent beers to accompany your favorite dessert if you dare!
-Barleywine. This fruity, aromatic brew is high in alcohol and the perfect finish to a good meal. Drink in small portions with your next chocolate soufflé.
-Herbed or Spiced Beer. Seasonal herbed and spiced beers such as pumpkin or Christmas ales make a good accompaniment to desserts of the season.
-Lambic. A strong fruity profile pairs well with sweet fruity dessert sauces.
Dessert is a great time to experiment with stronger beer flavors and higher alcohol content brews. Have a selection available for all to enjoy.
As with wine, the first rule of beer pairing is “if you like the way it tastes, the beer pairs well with the meal.” Consider setting out a variety of contending beer choices and let the guests choose the one that gives them the best dining experience. With practice, your beer pairing skills can enhance every meal.