It’s actually a fact that pairing food with strong craft Welsh beer is easier than the pairing of food with wine. That statement will no doubt upset wine drinkers, but it’s true. Beer and food go well together, and pairing them is fun. With friends, opening half a dozen bottles or cans of beer and trying out different pairings during a casual dinner can be great fun. Also, even the priciest beers tend to be more affordable than wine, which is a huge advantage.
The craft beer scene in the UK and elsewhere is getting more adventurous and diverse, so it is now possible to find a selection of delicious and unusual beer brands that pair well with almost any type of food or ingredient. Here are a few favourites.
It is hard to go wrong with these light and refreshing styles, since they are so versatile. With a touch of sweetness to its hoppy, bitter edge, lager paris well with salty foods, such as pizza. In addition, it goes well with dishes made with olives, capers and slow-cooked tomato sauces.
The citrus notes found in Pilsner, which is generally dry, make it an excellent match with fish and chips – it acts like a squeeze of lemon. You can also combine it with Vietnamese food and lemon chicken dishes.
Pale ales are considered hop-forward because of their strong hop aromas and flavours. There is also a strong malt flavour, a golden to amber hue, and moderate intensity. Unlike some ales, pale ales do not overpower the palate. The flavours blend wonderfully with spicy, smoky, and aromatic foods, as well as barbecued or grilled foods.
Brown ale is less bitter than other medium-hued beers. It has a distinct malty, nutty taste and hints of coffee and chocolate. It pairs beautifully with almost anything, but tastes best with cheese, meat, and seafood. It especially pairs well with the likes of sushi, grilled fish and roast pork.
Indian pale ale
IPAs are known for their hoppy (bitter) flavour profile. IPA tastes best when paired with spicy, salty, or fried foods and burgers. In recent years, India Pale Ales have become more widely available. Try it with foods such as tacos, burritos, fajitas, and steaks.
Stout and Porter
There is a strong familiar bond between Stout and Porter. Both are dark beers with rich, chocolaty, toasty flavours and a creamy texture. As the name implies, stouts have more oomph – a bit more richness.
Despite their richness, these styles go well with a wide range of savoury and sweet dishes. When paired with lobster or scallops, stout is magical, and it’s equally delicious with salty ham. If you find oatmeal stout, which is made with oatmeal, then gentle sweetness is the perfect complement to brownies and other dark chocolate desserts.
Porter is delicious when paired with blue cheese, such as Stilton or Beenleigh Blue, and biscuits. Porter goes well with mushroom dishes and rich, warming stews as well.
There is a broader, richer and more exciting world of beer today than there ever was. So why not crack open a few brews of various styles and try out some new recipes. You’ll be in for a treat.