Pairing food with craft beer should never be a difficult task. After all, part of the fun is trying new things. However, we realize that folks want to get the best results from their food pairing and we understand why. Sometimes, the time just isn’t right for experimenting. For example, it wouldn’t be so great to pair the wrong brew when your inlaws visit. Well, it might be amusing, but its a joke best left for other days.
Many people get nervous when it comes to pairing food that is spicy with craft beer. This isn’t as hard as it might sound. For many people, the key is to find a brew that will cut the heat of the dish a bit. In fact, this is the goal for a lot of people who love cultural foods with a lot of spice but can’t quite take the heat. Here we suggest pairing with malty brews. Why? The smooth, creaminess of the brew will help to settle down that heat and allow you to enjoy the flavors of your meal. In many cases, the brew itself will actually draw out those flavors.
Many foods like jambalaya or curry are full of heat and this lends to the flavor itself. However, as we said, not everyone can take that heat, but they love the food. Try pairing these meals with something like Old Rasputin from North Coast Brewing Company. This Russian Imperial Stout will certainly help to mellow out the heat and let you enjoy the flavors within the food instead.
Rich foods are another area where people find difficulty in pairing. We can’t really understand why, as rich foods are easily paired with a wide variety of brews. For example, chicken alfredo is a very rich and creamy dish, but pairs well with quite a variety of craft beers. This one could be paired equally well with Founders Brewing Company’s Breakfast Stout or Cigar City Brewing Company’s Florida Cracker and we have loved both options.
Rich foods are easy to pair with craft beer because you have the option to complement or contrast without much worry about a poorly paired brew. Many rich meals hold a variety of flavors that can be drawn out from either end of the spectrum. This is a great asset, as there are just as many rich meals out there as there are craft beers!
Meals that have a somewhat bitter twist to them are also easier to pair with craft beer than you would think. Again, these are either end of the spectrum type meals, because they can benefit equally from a malty brew or one filled with hoppy notes. In fact, we’ve recently found success pairing these meals with the fruity brews that have been coming out too. The sweetness of these brews seems to create a really nice balance with the meal.
Founders Brewing Company has a lovely brew called Rubaeus that seems to suit bitter meals pretty darn well. Something about the fruity infusion of this brew lends a great flavor to the meal itself and contrasts in a way that makes your mouth water (in a good way). Try it out and see for yourself.
Overall, pairing food with craft beer is neither a difficult nor a time-consuming task. The whole idea of craft brewing is to be a bit adventurous and try some new ideas. That’s how the great variety of craft brews ended up on the market for us to enjoy in the first place and we get to take advantage of that creativity by trying something new with our meals.
We look forward to seeing you at our opening in West Palm Beach, Florida later this year and hearing about the great ideas you’ve discovered. We’re traveling a lot and checking out the new brews on the market while we work hard to get our doors open to the public so we’ll be bringing you more news of great craft beer and the meals we’ve paired them with over time.