The virtues of Food and Beer matching - Converting non-believers

There’s been some great stuff written recently by bloggers such as Pete Brown and Mark Dredge about food and beer matching, and even some articles by The Guardian and The Independent which were aiming to attract new people to drink good beer – all of which is heartening for me, as food and beer is what this blog is really all about. Very rarely I’ll write just about food, fairly regularly I’ll write just about beer, but as often as humanly possible I’ll talk about the two together.

As Leigh from
The Good Stuff recently wrote, Food and Beer matching doesn’t have to be poncey or complicated, it’s just about enjoying good quality produce rather than putting up with the same old crap. If you’re a foodie, then why limit yourself to matching food with wine? It’d be like only cooking French food for the rest of your life. Sure, you’d eat well but you’d be missing out on a world of exotic flavours.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some wine and food matches which even I admit can’t be beat – try a charred medium-rare Ribeye steak with a glass of Chateauneuf-du-Pape and you’ll see what I mean - but there are so many other foods out there which pair amazingly well with beer.

Now I realise that I may be preaching to the converted here and that most readers of this blog will be beer lovers and likely have some level of interest in beer and food matching, but I can also bet that you’ve all got friends or family out there who you haven’t yet persuaded to the virtues of good beer. Either those who see beer as a quick thirst quencher and not something to be enjoyed with dinner, or those who simply say they don’t like the stuff, all of them might be missing out, and it’s your job to show them!

One of the main barriers to serving beer with food amongst friends or family is that a litter of beer bottles around the table isn’t as elegant as a single bottle of wine in the centre, shared amongst the lot of you. It might sound simple, but a great way to get around this is to buy bigger, stronger bottles of beer and share them amongst your friends. A 75cl bottle of beer, especially in a corked and caged bottle, has all the elegance of a bottle of wine and even a little of the theatre of a bottle of Champagne. And whilst it might sound a bit counterintuitive to be focussing on aesthetics when trying to convert people to the virtues of good beer that has great flavour, remember that image is important, and getting that beer onto the dinner table is the first hurdle that needs to be overcome.

I wrote previously about matching Stone Arrogant Bastard Ale with Chicken and Chorizo, and as starting points for beer and food pairing go, it’s pretty ideal. Get some friends round, buy a big bottle of the Stone beer, serve up this super simple dish and share out the beer into large red wine glasses. Stand back and watch the non-believers be converted. (Zak is also a fan of this combo, and wrote about it here.)

Dessert is also a great place to get beer into a meal - a rich chocolate fondant with either a Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout or a fruity raspberry Lambic will flip most people’s idea of beer on it’s head, but also delight their tastebuds. There are even some beers out there being brewed specifically to pair with chocolate, as discussed by a new but knowledgable Blogger over at
‘Broadford Brewery’.

In an effort to further bridge the gap between really good food and really good beer, I’m going to be doing a collaborative blog post with a London based Chef (and old friend), who blogs about the food he cooks at home here: http://afoodjournal.com - His most recent post on sweetcorn Risotto with bacon flavoured pop-corn looks absolutely belting, but all the recipes on there are great and it’s well worth a look.

Can’t wait to see what dish he comes up with for me to pair a beer to, my only request was that it was a gutsy dish with bold flavours - That way I can choose a big, tasty beer. Can’t wait to see how this exciting collab turns out, so watch this space.

Long live food and beer!


Place to buy big bottles of beer:
Beer Ritz, Leeds
Utobeer, Borough Market
The Bottle, York
(Sainsbury's also sell the 75cl bottles of Meantime)

www.mybrewerytap.com
www.alesbymail.com





20 comments:

  1. The AB with chicken and chorizo is one of my faves too.

    As you say, Brooklyn BCS is a great match for fruity creamy desserts - most people who would never dream of trying that style of beer are seduced by it served in little sherry glasses. I think the glass is a really key thing too - don't overface people with a big measure if it's something they're a bit unsure of.

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  2. Cheers Zak, dya know I did read that post when you wrote it but had forgotten by the time I wrote my chicken and chorizo/Stone AB post. Perhaps the subconsicous at work. Anyway, I've added a link to your post, as is owed.

    I agree the glass is important too for the theatre and sense of occasion. A big posh bottle of beer shared out into wine glasses, or a rich liquer-like BCS tipped into sherry glasses as an accompaniment to a dessert makes perfect sense and is exciting for your guests.

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  3. Cracking post Neil (and thank you for the mention). This is certainly a subject with plenty of miles left on the clock. My first blogged effort of matching food and beer certainly won't be my last and I have noted more than a couple of your suggestions (I have a Stone AB ready to go!). Look fwd to reading about your collaboration.

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  4. its also worth linking to Mark's post here
    http://markdredge.hoppress.com/2010/01/10/beer-and-food-because-it%E2%80%99s-worth-it/

    and here http://www.pencilandspoon.com/2011/07/six-types-of-beer-and-food-pairing.html

    and the Brewmaster's table is useful too of course!

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  5. They are both good posts. Read them when they came out but there's been stuff more recent for me to link to.

    Will add the last link though as Mark's post on the types of matches has some really good info. cheers steve

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  6. Not sure where i was when you originally posted the chicken and chorizo recipe, but it's now firmly on the to-do list. Cheers.

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