Beer Matching 101

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CURATED ARTICLE VIA THE BEER PILGRIM: Sometimes I think that food was created purely to compliment beer (or is it the other way around?). Either way, the matches you can make between fodder and froth are seriously mind-blowing. Stout and Chocolate, Pilsners and Fish, Mussels and Wheatbeer…. Need I go on? And if you want to treat your taste buds to the adventure of a lifetime, can I suggest you attend a beer-matching event, purchase a food and beer pairing platter or at least give a few of these suggestions a go at home. You will never look at beer the same way again. On my journey as the beer pilgrim, I have picked up some great tips and pointers from the experts when it comes to matching beer with food, so I thought I would share them with you legends! Let me introduce you to my lunch. image An incredible tasting platter with accompanying beers that I found at the RedOak Boutique Beer Café on Clarence Street in Sydney’s CBD. In my opinion, these beer-food matches were a great example of complimenting tastes. The light Summer Lager compliments the light carpaccio, the roasty, smoky Oatmeal Stout a perfect compliment to the hearty boar-ragout and so on. But ‘complimenting’ isn’t the only rule-of-thumb when it comes to good beer-food pairing. THE RULES (even though there are no rules) 1. COMPLIMENT Choosing flavours that quite simply, work together. image Example: Fish with a citrusy pale-ale. The light flesh of this grilled snapper worked perfectly with the citrus-tang of the James Squire 150 Lashes. 2. CONTRAST This as you can probably guess is matching beers and food with contrasting tastes. There is a fine line here between contrast and the other C – Clash. But the best part about beer is that it can be quite forgiving so you have a pretty big safety net here. image An example of a contrasting beer match might be a fruity beer such as a German Wheat Beer with a spicy Thai, Indian or Mexican dish.  In this pic above I matched a Hefeweizen with a spicy Thai Dish and it was great together. I couldn’t believe how well the fruity banana flavor of the Hefeweizen worked with the salt and spice of this chili-crammed seafood dish. 3. CUT-THROUGH (or cleanse) This is reference to one taste cutting through another, cancelling an opponent out and cleansing the palate. Usually with Beer this means the dry bitterness of the hop character cancelling out an oily or creamy opposing taste. image Pic: hwww.craftbeer.com/food/cheese/style-guide A good example of this would be a hoppy IPA with a creamy cheese. Let’s say a Feral Hop Hog with a rich blue cheese (an incredible combination in my book!). The intense hoppiness of the IPA will have a strong bitter, dryness that will cut through the creamy cheese. image Pic: ‪www.fabfriday.com Another good example of a ‘cut-through’ match would be an oily fish-n-chips with a dry, hoppy Pilsner. The dry, bitterness of the pilsner will cut through the oily batter, but the light character of the beer won’t clash with the light flesh of the fish itself. Here is a basic chart I found that might help out when pairing your food with beer. image Pic: http://bluepointbrewing.com/bpbc/food-pairings/pairing-tips/ And though the three C’s are a good guide to successful beer-food matching, they are by no means set in stone. Tasting and matching is totally up to your own personal tastes and sometimes flavours in beer fit a dish you would have never imagined. image Pic: www.deliciousmagazine.co.uk/recipes/oysters-and-stout A good example of this would be Stout and Oysters. The sweet, choclaty, toffee, smoky Stout somehow works perfectly with salty oysters. Who wouldda thought??? It’s a strange world… Im keen to hear about your own beer-food matching suggestions so please write, send in some pics and let us know how you like to pair up!! Over.

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