Complementary Beer and Food Pairings
A beer is refreshing on a hot day and delicious when paired with most any food. However, the complexity of the many flavors and ability to complement most any meal makes this drink ideal for some divine pairings. One rule of thumb in pairing is to keep sweet with sweet and tart with tart, however, there is no reason why you cannot mix a sweet beer with a spicy food or a tart beer with a dessert. Sometimes sweet with sweet or tart with tart can throw a beer off balance.
Before we start offering you some suggestions about pairings, we would like to provide you with a simplified version how beer is produced. The four key ingredients in beer are hops, grain, yeast, and water and they form the base of the beer. Beer, which is a fermented drink made with a cereal grain (mainly malted barley), begins the process of fermentation with malt. The next step, without going into great detail, is the addition of water and heat. The malt is broken down into a ‘wort’, which is a sweet liquid. Hops are added to the wort and this is where the bitterness and aroma are produced. The liquid is boiled and cooled rapidly and then yeast is added for the final step in the fermentation process. The yeast consumes the sugar and releases alcohol. From that point, the beer is aged anywhere from a few days to several weeks.
The variety of beer flavors and aroma are managed during the processing by altering the type of grain, adding additional steps such as seeping or extracting, changing the level of hops or changing the type of yeast. At one time beer was a simple straightforward process. Now, thanks to some ingenious ways of making beer we are blessed with a delightful drink with unique flavors and aroma which are capable of enhancing the food we eat.
The following list includes some of our suggestions for pairing beer and food that will taste good on your palate.
- Hoppy Ki Yay – A straw-colored sweet IPA with a taste of soft fruitiness and an aroma of light pine and a hint of malt which works well with meat.
- Shotgun Betty Hefeweizen – German style wheat beer with rich, banana-clove aroma and refreshing dry finish which gives an interesting flavor to the meat.
- Sundance Grapefruit Saison – The citrus flavors from this saison pair nicely with the Portobello and button mushrooms and the smokey flavor of the burger. The tangy Swiss cheese offers a nice balance with the smooth flavors of hops and grapefruit.
- Deadeye Jack – An American style porter with a sweet side, a smidgen of herbal hops, and a nice creamy chocolate flavor. The mild sweetness in this beer is a great compliment with spicy foods.
- Saloon Style Pilsner – Bready malty aroma balanced by herbal saaz hops with a hint of lemon. Although the light, sweet malt is the dominant taste, it is balanced by the hops and goes quite well with a deep-fried turkey.
- Preacher – If you’re not into fried and prefer the traditional season turkey we suggest a saison beer. It has a mildly bitter, spicy, clove-like finish and provides a nice taste along with the turkey.
- Hop Em’ High – Our seasonal double IPA is a blend of Centennial, Columbus, and Simcoe hops that create a bright and very hoppy profile. The piney and citrus flavors that work well with baked chicken.
- Shotgun Betty Hefeweizen – A wheat beer, which has a banana-clove aroma that adds to any seafood dish.
- Hoppy Ki Ya – The bright hop essence does a great job of complementing the bold, bacon flavor. This combination is very palate cleansing and makes it easy to enjoy the intense flavors coming from both the burger and the beer.
- Pistols At Dawn – A very dark stout with a roasted chocolate flavor is an excellent choice with apple pie.
- Sweet Josie Brown – A brown ale with a toasted cocoa and dark malt flavor that are enhanced with just a few bites of dark chocolate.
Pairing drinks with any food is a complex process and can create an unexpected effect when attempting to match flavors. If you would like to know more about our beers and our tips on pairing please feel free to contact us. Just remember, there is a little bit of us in every one of you.