The world of wine is widespread with food pairing suggestions, helping you choose the right bottle for a night of seafood or steak.
Fortunately, beer lovers shouldn’t be left out—the beer industry is catching up with complementing food and drink. With a variety of craft beers for sale that provides multiple flavors—from the slightly fruity Hallertau hops to hoppy and bitter ale—you’ll find several ways of making the most out of your meals.
If you’re planning to run a restaurant, creating the right beer and food menu brings satisfied customers and improved profits.
Distinguishing the Tastes in Beer
You’ll encounter several terms that describe what beer tastes like. These include:
- Bitter: Bitterness is a common way to describe the flavor of the beer. The amount of bitterness depends on the style, although many breweries base their rating on the International Bitterness Unit. The higher the IBU, the stronger the bitterness of the beer.
- Dark: Dark beers usually have a heavy and rich taste brought by long roasting hours. When roasted longer, the flavors of these beers are similar to coffee and chocolate.
- Hops: Hops refer to plants added to beer to keep it fresh and add flavor. The taste of a hoppy bear depends on what hops were used and when they were added during the brewing process. Usually, hoppy beers come with a flowery or fruity taste.
- Light: Light beers are known for their clean, crisp, and refreshing taste. They don’t have a strong flavor, and they usually have low alcohol content.
- Malt: Malt beers are brewed with barley grain that was roasted before being added to the brew. They usually have a nutty flavor with an occasional sweet, caramel taste.
3 Standard Methods for Matching Beer and Food
There are no set rules for pairing food and beer since there aren’t a lot of flavors that conflict with beer. However, you want to make the most out of your food and beer pairing.
When finding the right beer to complement your meal, choose one of the following methods:
Beer can sometimes be used to cleanse the palate. This method is ideal when matching your beer with dishes with overpowering flavors. For example, it’s best to serve a cool and refreshing light beer when serving a spicy meal.
This method works in the opposite direction, in which you use the dish to cleanse the overpowering flavor of the beer. If you’re serving India pale ale, it’s best to serve fatty foods like cheese and fries.
Simply put, the complementing rule states that matching food and beer flavors make for a delectable combination. For dishes rich in flavor, choose an equally rich, heavy beer like Porter or Stout. Pale ale or wheat beer is best served for fish and salad dishes.
This method involves a lot of trial and error. However, your objective should be to pair a dominant flavor with a contrasting taste that doesn’t overpower. A typical example is the pairing of Stout and oyster.
With different beer flavors, it might take a while before you figure out which flavor matches which ingredient. By following these tips, it will be easier to find the right beer-dish combo for your next dinner party.