As long as there has been a meal on the table, there has also been the need to have an accompanying beverage on hand. While the ins and outs of what is on the menu have changed over the course of time, right now, the hottest beverage around is craft beer. The small-batch, hand-crafted, detail-oriented world of craft beer has not only drawn many admirers of great beer, it has also piqued the interest of foodies the world over regarding the possible pairings that could be made with their favorite foods.
It’s easy to see why the idea of pairing a good craft beer with certain foods would be of intense interest. Think of craft beer in the same way you’d think of wine. In the same way that certain flavor notes in wine go really well with certain foods, so, too, does well-made beer.
Here are five beer and food pairings you should really take into consideration for your next get-together:
Golden Ale – These light ales are easy to drink and have a balanced taste, making them a perfect pairing with foods that are pretty familiar. Burgers, brats, and Mexican cuisine are safe bets for a killer beer/food combination.
Dark Red Ale – You’ve now moved into some more exotic flavors, but you’re still dealing with a mild, roasted flavor that has both a dose of American hops and Belgian yeast. This beer moves between flavors & styles, which would make it a nice choice when working with spicy foods and even tangy cheeses.
Chocolate-based Stout – A stout beer with chocolate notes is not about to be tame and somewhat subdued. You’re looking at a beer that aims to be noticed. A robust flavor from deeply roasted barley lingers, which goes really well with roasted foods (think root vegetables) and even desserts with more pronounced flavors.
Wit – A Belgian-style wheat beer, a wit is subtle in its spices and its citrus base allows for a refreshing citrus profile to emerge. This is the type of beer that many people wish they had discovered years before because it carries all of the flavor profiles of great beer with a certain “lightness” that makes it easy to enjoy. It goes great with vegetarian dishes, light soups, seafood, and sushi.
American IPA – American IPA combines malt, citrus, and the floral notes of American hops, balancing flavors that figuratively set your taste buds on fire. That said, you have quite an interesting array of foods that can go with this particular beverage. Spicy dishes from all corners of the globe are fair game, as are more tried-and-true snacks like salty & fried foods more familiar to your average beer drinker. Curries are also a very worthwhile option.
Craft beer, much like modern art, can be daunting to the person who is not so sure stepping away from their usual adult beverage of choice is the best idea. However, when you realize how much fun it can be to explore the cuisine of the world with a frosty drink in hand, you might just wish you’d discovered craft beer earlier. So, indulge in the goodness (and plentiful options) that is craft beer, and enjoy your next meal with a cold one.