Today is a great day to talk about delicious craft beer and how you can pair it with your meals. Well, any day is a great day for it, especially for us enthusiasts who really love craft beer. However, we’ve noticed that not many people are talking about how it matches up so well with different foods.
You love craft beer, right? And you love food? Well, why aren’t you trying out new combinations? Pairing these flavorful and rich brews with some good food just makes sense to us. For example, why not grab a rich Imperial stout to go with your porterhouse steak? Skip the steak sauce, because you won’t need any more bite than what the brew offers.
Actually, pairing food with delicious craft beer isn’t complicated at all. The key is to consider the flavor and texture of the food and the beer. Are you eating a creamy, sweet dessert? Then you’re likely to get the best results with either a smooth and sweet brew or a slightly bitter but sweet brew depending on your tastes. Contrast or complement is the general “rule” though there really are no set rules. If it tastes great together, enjoy it!
Contrast pairings really are a matter of taste. So what we may consider to be great, you may not like so much. Keep that in mind when trying any pairing that is suggested for you. After all, they are your taste buds, not ours. With that said, here are a few contrast pairings we really like.
Lemon chicken with Reality Czeck from Moonlight Brewing
This combination offers the sweet lemon taste of the traditional Chinese lemon chicken and a crisp pilsner that has a very light malt flavor to it. The malt goes well with the sweetness of the dish, while the crisp bite contrasts very well, giving you the best of both worlds
Grilled Broccoli Basted with Garlic paired with Death and Taxes by Moonlight Brewing
The rich taste and texture of grilled broccoli, especially when basted with garlic and butter can be overpowering in its flavor. Pair this with a black beer like Death and Taxes and you’ve got a winning combination. This outstanding and delicious craft beer gives a unique spin to the dish with its nearly coffee-style flavor and texture. The bitterness really does balance the rich flavor of the broccoli very well and the smooth texture complements it perfectly.
Seasoned Ribeye with Ranch seasoned fried potatoes
This meal is a classic, down-home style dish. Obviously is a rich and heavy meal, which means you’ll need to be careful choosing the brew to match. We suggest skipping the steak sauce with this one, because you could add too much bite to the pairing and considering the flavor would be far more difficult. For example, if you were to add steak sauce to this dish, you would not be able to appreciate the more delicate flavor of a light pilsner, nor the deeper bitter bite of an Imperial stout.
As for what brew to pair with this dish, there are actually several that would pair quite nicely. However, as always, this really does come down to your own tastes. Personally, I like a super dark Porter. Somehow the bitterness cuts through the richness of the steak and it contrasts with the creamy ranch taste of the fried potatoes extremely well. My personal favorite is Battle Axe Baltic Porter, created by Fat Head’s Brewery.
As you can see from the examples given, pairing is about taste, texture, and in many cases, contrast. While pairing sweet with sweet is sometimes perfect, there are times when you may not appreciate such an overpowering pairing. Just keep in mind the underlying flavors and richness of the food you’re about to eat and consider the bitterness or richness of the brew and you’ll do great!