We’ve noticed that the craft beer scene and the foodie community seem to be “pairing up” to create some amazing combinations. Food pairings for craft brews are turning out to be zany, interesting, and sometimes downright unexpected. While some of the ideas that we’ve run across aren’t exactly to our tastes, we realize everyone is a bit different, so we’ve certainly not written them off. For example, we’d prefer not to pair a creamy and malty brew with hot jambalaya, but that’s just us. While this pairing may work out very well for some, something about the way the creamy texture cuts the heat of the jambalaya just does not appeal to us. We like our jambalaya hot.
However, we’d gladly pair a delicious brew like Asylum with jambalaya. Why? It simply works together for us. That said and accepting the fact that not everyone is the same, there are some pretty reasonable food pairings that everyone is sure to like. Such as a great Russian Imperial Stout with a hearty Porterhouse steak and asparagus. They simply go together very well and not only complement each other but also contrast in a way that works too. We’re still not sure how a pairing can complement and contrast at the same time, but that pairing does exactly that.
If you overthink a pairing, you’re far more likely to not enjoy the result. After all, your own instincts are going to tell you that a super rich porter is not the best idea for white fish right? At least we hope they would because the porter is going to seriously overpower the delicate taste of the fish. In a case like this, you’d be better off with an IPA, as the slight tang of the brew is going to complement the fish quite well.
Don’t believe us? Try it out and decide for yourself. We all have varying tastes, so you actually might be someone who doesn’t mind porter with their cod fillet. We just really feel that you’ll enjoy the lighter notes of a brew like Founder’s All Day IPA instead. The citrusy cut of the brew pairs up great with white meat fish fillets.
If you were to change the type of fish and select something as rich as salmon, you would simply change the type of craft beer. Depending on whether you prefer to complement or contrast, you could go with a richer porter or again, the lighter and more citrusy of the IPAs. It’s all about personal taste, but the simple basics are about complementing or contrasting.
Mixed plate food pairings are not as hard to create as you would think. Yes, there is the risk of some items not pairing well, but you’re going to have to accept that when dealing with mixed meals. For example, you’re served a rich ribeye, well-seasoned, with broccoli raab, candied yams, and baked potato. This sounds like a great mix of bitter, sweet, rich, and earthy. We’d suggest something like Samuel Smith’s Organic Chocolate Stout. While the rich and malty texture will cut the bitterness of the broccoli raab, it will also compliment the rich and hearty tones of the steak and potato. The cocoa hints will even match well with the candied yams!
The bottom line is, keep it simple and think complement and contrast. Sweet with bitter, sweet with sweet, citrus with fish. Just remember not to pair two items where you run the risk of one overpowering the other, because you want the chance to enjoy both your brew and your meal equally.