Creating optimal craft beer and food pairings is a question people often ask craft brewers. I mean, who wouldn’t want to have the perfect meal paired with the perfect beer? While some pairings are definitely easier than others–pretty much anything goes with a burger, something light and crisp with tacos and nachos–other dishes and flavor combinations can pose a challenge.
That’s why we recommend going beyond flavor, to target content. As Adam Dulye at Craft Beer reminds us, we can better match beers beyond just typical flavors and tackle the culinary components instead: fats, sugars, and vinegar/acids.
Every dish tastes better with a little fat: the oils in French fries, the butter in your eggs. That fat protects the tongue from intense beers, such as ones with a high ABV content, or barrel-aged beers with dramatic flavor. The lighter the fat–such as vegetable-based oils–the lighter beer you can (and should) pair.
Sugars enhance dishes by magnifying sour or bitter notes, while doing the same to savory flavors. That’s why honey barbecue tastes so good: you get the smokey barbecue taste with a little sweetness that doesn’t overpower that deep, rich flavor. A hoppy beer is a great way to cut the sweetness in a dessert, like carrot cake, because it downplays the sweet profile, but brings out the carrot nicely.
Vinegars are great palette cleansers and are added to dishes to break up heavy components by giving your tongue a lighter note. And because vinegars and acids fall on the roof and sides of your mouth and tongue, Brewmasters recommend hoppy beers since they settle nicely with all the flavors and sensations playing around together. That’s why a Vietnamese banh mi sandwich with delicious pickled vegetables tastes so good with an IPA, and why dishes with hot sauces get a nice kick with a pale ale.
By following these beer and food combinations, you can create your own pairings easily. To get the right beer for dinner tonight, contact us.