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THE JOURNAL

Beer vs wine pairing

As we relaunch our trade site, we ask Patrick Gengler, Beer Hawk's Beer Sherpa, to look at the differences in common restaurant experiences when ordering beer or wine with your meal

 

 

FADE IN;
Two young people are sitting at a candle lit table. A pianist plays soft and romantic music in the background.
ENTER: WAITER
WAITER
Have you had time to peruse the wine list?
YOUNG MAN
I have, I was wondering what kind of beer offerings you had?
My girlfriend and I both wanted a nice beer to complement our dinner.
WAITER
We only offer a lager, a stout, and a cask ale unfortunately.



We’ve all been there, an overwhelming majority of high end/fancy restaurants have wine lists into the 100s with wine menus 20 – 30 pages long but they only offer 3 beers. 3 beers that you can get at nearly every pub in Britain.
Why is this? Well, we must give credit to the geniuses that proliferated the idea that wine is the perfect beverage for any dish. The wide range of grape varieties with different subtleties in flavour are the backbone of this idea. As a beer drinker, though, I can think of another ingredient that is grown all over the world and has just as varied flavour attributes: hops.

One could argue that there is an IPA out there that would be the perfect beverage for any dish. The IPA is but only one of an incredibly varying and ever growing list of beer styles. To be completely honest, you can get more specific in flavour pairings with beer than you can with wine. I realize this may be blasphemous to say but it’s undisputable truth. Even I often order a bottle of wine with a fancy dinner with my wife. An incredible beer selection would change my song and dance though. The idea of great beer with great food is starting to catch on in many parts of the world.

Americans have an entire section of the Great American Beer Festival devoted to food and beer pairing perfection. 21 chefs and 21 beers to make 42 unique and exquisite combinations.

You see it more and more in progressive restaurants as well. I saw a great example at one of England’s best gastro pubs: The Star Inn. They had a little leaflet style menu that paired local beers with some of the dishes they offer. They pride themselves on using local ingredients, hence the use of local beers, and they did it wonderfully. I would ask, however; why you would limit yourself in your beer selection. The wine list is upwards of 100 different bottles but they don’t all come from England, as a matter of fact, none of them do. If you’re going to do a beer pairing, why not do it properly and get the best that there is?

There is an inordinate amount of literature on how to match beer and food and any chef that’s worth their salt knows every aspect of the dish they are serving on a nightly basis. That knowledge would lend itself perfectly to making outstanding beer and food pairings so that the above scene would sound more like this:
 


FADE IN;
Two young people are sitting at a candle lit table. A pianist plays soft and romantic music in the background.
ENTER: WAITER
WAITER
Have you had time to peruse the wine list?
YOUNG MAN
I have, I was wondering what kind of beer offerings you had?
My girlfriend and I both wanted a nice beer to complement our dinner.
WAITER
Absolutely sir, I can do you one better. We have a beer and food pairing menu that our head chef has put together perfectly matching our craft beer selection with specific dishes.

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Beer Hawk is rated 4.35 stars by Reviews.co.uk based on 4740 merchant reviews

4.35 / 5 Rating
4740 Reviews
Good selection with efficient and fast delivery. As online beer merchants go the pricing is good and the 5% cash back in beer tokens makes it better value for money. Will be shopping again !
Ordered 15 different lagers, good choice.
Great beer, great service, swift delivery, groovy weekend. As always.