BEER & FOOD PAIRING
Many people may have heard of classic wine pairings with food. Certain beers also have recognized pairings with foods.
Irish stout and oysters. Irish-style dry stouts are every bit the equal to any white wine when paired with oysters. Note that good draft Guinness, or an equivalent , will work better than some stronger, more acrid and much hoppier U.S. craft-brewed stouts. Oatmeal stouts with restrained hop bitterness will also work very well. The burnt barley flavors, and particularly, the smooth texture, offset the indescribable sensation of saline, slithery bi-valves. Another coupling with oysters that is greater than the sum of its parts, for very different reasons, is hoppy American pale ale. The residual iodine and brine of the oysters work well with the citrusy hop flavors of the beer.
Ploughman’s lunch with bitter. The English are famously uncelebrated for their cuisine. Nonetheless, beer and cheese is a well-understoOD. A plate of strong English cheese, such as farmhouse Cheddar or even Stilton, accompanied by pickles, relishes, and bread is available at most pubs. These cheeses, so difficult to pair with wine, work effortlessly with stronger fruity English-style ales. The earthy, toasted malt flavors and balanced hop accents of English and English-style ales have an affinity with sharp cheeses, and cope well with the salty, sharp nature of Stilton. When concluding a meal with Stilton, try a strong English-style ale or even a barley wine, instead of port and walnuts.
Bratwurst with German beers. The Germans have refined the art of pork and lager pairing by means of the sausage. Beer-soaked brats and fest beers probably need no introduction to readers who have had some contact with Octoberfests staged by local breweries. The general principle is that sweeter, toasty malt flavors with relatively subtle hopping (i.e., bitterness) pair well with rich though not strongly flavored pork. American pale lager, surely the ideal match for a hot dog.
Mussels with Belgian gueuze. This is an esoteric pairing of the tart lambic beers of the Brussels area and the national staple of Belgium, moules (mussels). If you have not tasted a lambic, specifically a gueuze, you will have no idea how beer and shellfish could possibly work in a classic manner. Gueuze is unlike conventional beer. It is tart, dry, and very acidic in the same manner that wine is.
Beer and chocolate. There are a number of possibilities but here we have to get brand specific. A first choice would be a barley wine or strong bottle-conditioned ale with some aged, mature character. The basic principle is to match the bittersweet flavors of dark chocolate with sweet but dark-roasted malt flavors of specific beers.