How to match food & beer

Pairing beer and food together isn’t all rules and science. That would make for a terribly boring dinner party! Instead, it’s the art of taking a good beer, some good food and partnering them together to make something even better. It’s the adventure of discovering what works, what doesn’t and what you like. It’s you taking a bite, taking a sip and then declaring your undying love for that imperial stout and chocolate cake. Who knew that your dinner could combine the best of art, adventure and undying love? It’s easy to remember the very basic guidelines to help you in your search for your Moules Frites’ beery soulmate (hint: it’s a witbier). Just remember the three C’s: complement, contrast and cut. Here’s what we mean:


COMPLEMENT
One of the simplest ways to create a fantastic food and beer pairing is to find complementary flavours

How to match food & beer

Pairing beer and food together isn’t all rules and science. That would make for a terribly boring dinner party! Instead, it’s the art of taking a good beer, some good food and partnering them together to make something even better. It’s the adventure of discovering what works, what doesn’t and what you like. It’s you taking a bite, taking a sip and then declaring your undying love for that imperial stout and chocolate cake. Who knew that your dinner could combine the best of art, adventure and undying love? It’s easy to remember the very basic guidelines to help you in your search for your Moules Frites’ beery soulmate (hint: it’s a witbier). Just remember the three C’s: complement, contrast and cut. Here’s what we mean:


COMPLEMENT
One of the simplest ways to create a fantastic food and beer pairing is to find complementary flavours in each. Does the beer have notes of chocolate and vanilla? So do profiteroles! How about a raspberry fruit beer? That’d be fantastic with raspberry cheesecake. Basically you’re looking to find a bridge connecting the beer and the food to find a harmonious exchange between the two.


CONTRAST
Here’s where things get a little bit more artsy. When you’re looking for an interesting contrast between the two components you’ve got to consider a few things. What is the overall flavour of the beer? Is it sweet? Bitter? Tart? Find an equally intense but different flavour profile in your food and see how they interact with each other. You’re looking to either quell or enhance a particular characteristic. Think of the aggressive bitterness in an IPA intensifying the spice in a vindaloo or a sweet crème brûlée being tamed by an acidic gueuze. Opposites do attract!


CUT
A better way to remember this food-beer interaction would be ‘cleanse’. This principle looks to the carbonation, bitterness, acidity and even the warming character of alcohol in some beers to cleanse away the oily, rich feeling that some foods can have in your mouth. It’s this alone why cheese is such a fantastic partner to most beers. So go ahead and cut the Gouda with a balanced brown ale.

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STARTER CHART
Seafood – Hefeweizen or Witbier
Grilled red meat – Flanders Red or Scotch Ale
Heavy meat stews  –  Baltic Porter or Doppelbock
Salads  –  Pilsener or Helles
Rich desserts  –  Imperial Stout or Barley Wine