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Beer and Food Pairing

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Nicole Coetzee

on 18 February 2014

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Transcript of Beer and Food Pairing

Beer and Food Pairing
The Why of Pairing
The desirable flavours are highlighted in both the beer and the dish

Combination of the two invokes memory, emotion, and/or deeper thought

Pairing creates new flavours not originally present in either the beer or the dish

The Three C's

- Similar or compatible flavours present in both the beer and the food complement one another (e.g. An Indian curry with cloves resonates with the clove flavours found in a Dunkelweizen.)

- By offering an opposing flavour, the beer highlights a flavour in the dish or vice versa. (e.g. Mussels served with gueuze seem richer and sweeter due to the acidity of the beer)

- Some beer traits help refresh the palate by lifting, cleansing or removing rich or fatty flavours from the palate. Common “cutting” beer traits include carbonation, sourness, and bitterness, and to a lesser extent, alcohol and roastiness
Flavour Interactions

Complements toasted and caramelized flavours in a variety of foods
Soothes/softens capsaicin “heat”

Depending on hop variety, can complement fruit, citrus, herb, and spice flavours

Esters - Harmonize with fruit flavours
Phenols (clove and peppercorn flavours)
Resonate with spices
Contrast fat and umami

Beer Elements to Consider
Malt flavour
Hop bitterness
Sweetness/body (note that these are related)
Alcohol content
Fermentation derived flavours (esters, phenols, etc.)
Hop flavour/aroma
Special ingredients/processes (e.g. fruit, coffee, barrel-aging, etc.)
Food Elements to Consider
Flavour impact of individual ingredients
Preparation/cooking method
Spices used
Sauces served alongside
Levels of fat, umami, sweetness, bitterness, saltiness, sourness, etc.

Flavour Interactions

Cuts fat, umami, and sweetness
Accentuates capsaicin “heat”

Cuts fat, umami, and sweetness
Accentuates capsaicin “heat”
Can create harsh or metallic effects with certain foods (e.g. oily fish)
Can harmonize with bitter foods (e.g. bitter salad greens)

a. Complements chocolate, caramelized, and burnt flavours
b. Cuts fat
c. Contrasts sweetness
Flavour Interactions

Can cut fat
Generally resonates with sweetness
Can accentuate capsaicin “heat”

Can brighten some food flavours
Can complement sour flavours
May favorably contrast fat, umami, or salt

Soothes capsaicin “heat” and other spices
Accentuated by saltiness
Ingredient Flavours
For complimentary or contrasting pairings, look to the hop and malt profile of the beer:

Herby hops - Herbs, rubs

Citrus hops - Vinegar, citrus, pepper

Roast malts - coffee, chocolate, smoked meats

Caramel malts – bbq, vegetables, stronger cheese

Honey malt - caramelization, fruits, softer cheeses
Blonde Abbey Ale
Ranging from semi sweet blond ales to fairly dry boozy trippels and golden strong ales, all share hints of banana, citrus, spice and cotton candy. The sugar used to brew these styles lightens the body of the bigger ales but the intense carbonation creates a billowy cloud-like head and feel of creaminess on the tongue

Winter – Roast turkey, cranberries, dressing and gravy

Spring – Stirfried chicken and bell peppers in sweet chili sauce

Summer – French toast with cream cheese and fresh berries

Fall – Maple ginger squash soup
A note on Pilsners and the lager family. Invariably the top
selling beer from any country (Guiness not withstanding)
will be a pilsner or pilsner like lager. Many of these are
great beers but not necessarily the ideal beer for pairing
with food from that region.

A beer list does not need to be massive to allow for pairings but should include:
wheat beer
belgian abbey ale.

When matching food to beer always pair by beer style first then region if desired.

Creating a Pairing

Match intensities of both beer and dish so that neither overpowers the other
Consider the flavour interactions to hone the pairing

Intensity of dishes and pairings general increases as the meal progresses
Work with themes

European traditions
Regional foods usually work with local beers but...
Complement —
Contrast —
Malt flavours
Hop flavours
Fermentation-derived flavours

Creating a pairing
Designing a Meal
Classic beer and food pairings
Dark Abbey Ale
Dark, roasty, brooding with a range from sweet to very dry and from light bodied to viscous. Stouts highlight char and roast flavours and contrast with salt. The chocolate/coffee notes also find harmony with desserts.

Winter – Molten chocolate lava cake with bourbon whipped cream

Spring – Glazed ham with roasted yams

Summer – Blue cheese & bacon burger on onion roll

Fall – Fresh shucked oysters and horseradish
Wheat Beer/ Hefeweizen
Whether the citrus, vanilla, tang of a wit beer or the banana, clove, cerealy creaminess of a Hefeweizen
either will shine with lighter asian inspired fare. It seems like breakfast and brunch dishes were designed for wheat beers or perhaps it was the other way around

Winter - Goat cheese and herb omlette

Spring – Spring greens with lemon olive oil vinaigrette

Summer – Pad thai noodles

Fall – Mussels in lemons grass and coconut milk
Dark strong ales are just that: complex, rich, dark, strong often sweet on the finish with a caramel note. Dubbels are less intense with a drier often chocolatey finish but share similar notes of dark fruits, spice and raisins. Both share intense carbonation that let them cut richer dishes.

Winter - Ale braised beef short ribs over dirty rice

Spring - Raisin bread pudding with caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream

Summer - Tacos of grilled pork loin and black berry, red onion salsa

Fall - Roast duck with orange glaze and cinnamon dusted parsnip
India Pale Ale
A true showcase of hops ranging from herbal to earthy, grassy to citrusy, tropical to stonefruit. The bitterness of this ale is a nice counterpoint to spicier dishes and will nicely accentuate spices.

Winter – Panko crusted 5 cheese macaroni

Spring – Hand made pasta tossed with garlic and herbs

Summer – Cuban sandwich with bbq spiced fries

Fall – Olive oil poached tuna nicoise salad
Pale Ale/Bitters
British versions of the style will be herbal and tea like compared to the more citrus, mango, resiny North American versions. For every pizza, burger or sandwich there is a pale ale that will enhance the sensory experience.

Winter – Herb crusted prime rib with garlic mash

Spring – Grilled chicken caesar salad

Summer – Roasted tomato and asiago pizza

Fall – Fried halibut and chips
The worlds most popular and most misrepresented beer style. Comfortable with hockey, chicken wings and potato chips yes but pour a golden example into a fluted glass and serve with sushi (or caviar) to see it's true diversity

Winter - Fondue of havarti with apples

Spring - Spot prawns and asparagus

Summer - Chipotle salmon quesadillas

Fall - Smoked trout eggs benedict

Used in place of water or other liquid as an ingredient or cooking medium

Concentrating beer through cooking intensifies non-volatile flavours

Bitterness can intensify exponentially and may become unpleasant

Malt flavours and sweetness increase, sugars caramelize

Volatile hop and ester flavours decrease and may disappear entirely

Astringency/burnt flavours of roasted malt can increase and may become unpleasant

Delicate hop and fermentation flavours in beer can be brought to a dish by not cooking the beer (e.g. using an IPA in a salad dressing)
Cooking With Beer
Common uses

Flavour effects

General Ization

The “Science” of tasting


Beer with food or Beer vs. food

Sample pairings

Cooking with beer
Certified Cicerone®
PICA Culinary Diploma
BJCP Certified Rank
Pork Enthusiast
BC Beer Awards Founder
ISG Sommelier Diploma

Brewery Creek Liquor Store
Flavour Rules
Not so much rules as guidelines

Specific preparations, will vary

Even beer styles allow for significant deviation

Time of day, setting and sunspots

Everything is Subjective
”Everything in food is science. The only subjective part is when you eat it.”

Food and beer have well defined science but our sense of taste is barely understood.

Personal preference is a very important factor, but are our preferences our own?
Chemical sense perceived by specialized receptor cells that make up taste buds which can be broken into:
The Evolution of Taste
Sour: could be healthy, like oranges or lemons, or spoiled, like rotten milk.

Salt: foods had important vitamins and minerals.

Sweet: usually high in calories. First taste we crave

Bitter: often indicates poison. Last taste we develop appreciation for. IPA

Umami: savoury richness. Broth. MSG

Fat: make evolutionary sense
Evolution of Taste
Some people have inherited genetic traits that make certain foods taste disgusting.
Food allergies?

We respond to our ancestral favorites, even to our detriment.

Supertasters, have abnormally high
concentrations of taste receptors
meaning bland food tastes perfectly
Alton Brown
Ketchup: childhood superfood
Combination of taste, smell, tactile and thermal sensations


Flavour is dulled by inability to
smell. Taste is not.
Taste is numbed by cold.

Our sense of smell is probably the
largest contributor to flavour
The human tongue can distinguish only among a handful of distinct qualities of taste, while the nose can distinguish among hundreds of substances, even in minute quantities.

The olfactory system is the only human sense that bypasses the thalamus and connects directly to the forebrain. Memory

Different people smell different odors and most of these differences are caused by genetic differences.

90% of what we perceive as flavour is contributed by our sense of smell

90% of the aroma in beer is in the head

Flat beer

A glass please

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