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Pairing craft beer with meals

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When it comes to pairing craft beer with your meals, you should consider a few different options.  Some things to think about when choosing a beer for your meal include:

  1. The texture of the food
  2. Is the food spicy?
  3. Is the food rich?
  4. Is the meal sweet or bitter?
  5. What types of spices are in the food?
  6. Is this a dessert or a main course?
  7. Is the meal light or heavy?
  8. What type of beer do you really prefer?

Although this may sound complicated, it really isn’t.  These simple questions can help to lead you directly to the perfect craft beer for your meal.  It is also important to remember that number 8 is likely the most valid of the lot.  While a dark ale may be a great pairing for the meal you’ve chosen, you’re not going to enjoy it if you simply do not like dark ale.  Seems reasonable right?

Backwoods Bastard is perfect for pairing craft beer with mealsPairing craft beer with meals in contrast

While some meals are perfect for complementing, there are meals that really do need a bit of contrast when pairing a craft beer.  This can also be very effective if there is a specific type of beer you simply do not care for.  For example, if you are not really a fan of light beer, you might pair a dark ale with your French Corn Cakes with Summer Salsa.  The light meal pairs up great with heavier brews as the contrast fits perfectly.

If your meal is a bit on the heavier side, such as a lovely porterhouse steak with grilled asparagus and baked potato, consider a nice light Scottish ale (yep a light ale folks) such as Fresh Spring by Hog’s Back Brewery.  The contrast of the crisp ale with its low ABV will contrast nicely with the rich and heavy meal, balancing out the flavors and avoiding that “I can’t move” feeling that tends to set in after a heavy meal.

Neapolitan Milk Stout is a great choice when pairing craft beer with sweet mealsPairing craft beer with meals that complement the brew

Complementing tastes are often a great choice.  For example, if you’re considering having cheesecake as a dessert, consider a sweeter craft beer to pair with it.  While some may consider this pairing to be a bit overpowering on the sweet side, there are plenty of brews that would do well in this combination without overloading your senses with sticky sweetness.  For example, Neapolitan Milk Stout  (as shown) from Saugatuck Brewing Company is a great choice to go with cheesecake in nearly any flavor.

If you are preparing a rich meal like Corned Beef and Cabbage (it’s not as simple as it seems, this meal is quite diverse in flavors) then you may want to consider a brew such as Wee Heavy by Dry Dock Brewing Company.  This lovely brew is great as a winter seasonal beer and it pairs very well with a wide range of dishes that are heavy on the meat and richness.  This makes sense to us, as the Scottish do tend to serve very rich meals themselves and would naturally want a brew that wouldn’t overpower their meal.

Pairing craft beer is pretty easy

As you can see, pairing a delicious craft beer with your meal is not as hard as it sounds.  By simply taking into consideration the flavors, textures, and heaviness of the meal, you can select the perfect brew to suit your tastes within minutes.  Check back with us, as we will be posting more pairing suggestions throughout the coming months while we work towards our opening in April.  West Palm Beach Brewery and Wine Vault will be offering some outstanding brews, premium wines, and we certainly won’t mind suggesting pairings for those who want advice!





Jan 19, 2017