If you are a connoisseur of wine, you probably know which white wine or red wine to serve at your dinner table. But likewise, do you know your beer food pairings? The first and easy way is — visit one of the best pubs in Bangalore, or go to a bar with large open spaces and peep through the recommended food pairings on their menu and act as a beer lover! The second is to read ahead and get to know everything about the perfect beer food pairings, starting with the role of food with beer. Of course, everyone’s palate is not the same, but this is a good enough start to initiate pairing with the infinitely varied beverage.
Role of food with beer:
Just like wine, beer also goes hand in hand with different cuisines. While hops in the beer stimulate appetite, the food absorbs the alcohol content in the beer. Foods high in protein and fat can also get balanced by beer. As acids and ethanol in beer trigger the bitterness receptors in the taste buds, sweet and salty food helps balance and detract from the bitterness. (And you wonder why this multi-cuisine restaurant near me serves salted peanuts and wafers with my beer?)
A beer even helps digestion by stimulating more gastric acid to break down the food in your stomach!
How real beer lovers describe their beer:
Most people categorize beer as strong, dark, or light. But a beer enthusiast will lovingly describe a beer using three terms – Taste, Body, Mouthfeel.
Taste: A beer can taste balanced, bitter, crisp, complex, floral, fruity, roasty, or robust. The taste of the beer, especially craft beer, depends on the mix of ingredients used.
Body: The texture of a beer can be creamy, thin, light, medium, or full-bodied, depending on the sensation of fullness or viscosity on the palate.
Mouthfeel: A beer can be termed warm (alcoholic), dry, or carbonated depending on the sensory experience of the beer in the mouth and throat.
Types of Craft Beers:
Attitude towards beer drinking is changing, especially among the young urban-dwellers who are gaining a taste for different types of beer. The willingness to experiment with new flavors has led to an exponential rise in demand for craft beers. Microbreweries are no longer just the perfect place to unwind but the epicenter of changing cultural attitudes. Here are seven types of craft beers that are most popular among beer lovers: –
India pale ales (IPAs), Light lagers, Wheat beers, Amber ales, Dark lagers, Porters, Stouts
Basics of Craft Beer Food Pairing:
Now that we know eating food is good with a glass of beer and a little more about the different types of craft beers, there are three basic rules to follow while pairing the two together:
1. Use strong contrasting flavors – a rich and cheesy burger with light beer
2. Use complementing flavors – a light salad with a light beer
3. Use beer as a palate cleanser – a spicy tandoori chicken with a light beer.
The Best Beer and Food Combinations:
Fine craft beer is a rich and interesting brew that demands a great food partner. It can uplift your taste buds to a different level when paired with the right foods. There is an art behind perfecting craft beer food pairing, but here are some tips to get it right. These beer and food pairing suggestions are a must-try at your favorite microbrewery.
1. IPA Food Pairings
Today, India pale ales, or IPAs, are among the top 10 craft beers in India. The medium amber color bitter beer has added flavors of citrus, herbal, pine or honey tones. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to food pairings. But, here are a few favorite food and beer pairings that work for all types of IPAs:
Crispy Lotus Stem
2. Light Lager Food Pairings
Light lagers are pale beers known for their crisp and refreshing taste. Because light lagers are smooth, carbonated, and less bitter, you can pair them with bland to spicy food. A crafted GPB blonde lager styled brew pairs well with several kinds of food. Here are few beer food pairing options with light lager beers for you to try.
Feta cheese salad
3. Wheat Beer Food Pairings
Wheat beers brewed with a mixture of wheat and barley grains give the beer a smooth texture and light carbonation. Some of the upscale and best breweries in Bangalore are innovating craft beers with notes of orange peel, coriander, and more flavorings. They serve craft beers with a perfect balance of mild bitterness and light sweetness. Here are some food combinations with wheat beers:-
Amritsari Fried Fish
Mexican Bean Burgers
Veg Kebab platter
4. Amber Ale Food Pairings
Amber ale gets its name from its deep amber color. This beer is characterized by medium mouthfeel, notes of sweet caramel, and a strong flavor of roasted malt. It is not overly sweet and somewhat has a dry and crisp finish with a light and flowery aroma. Amber ales are excellent beers for cleansing your palate. So, the ideal food pairings for amber ales include:
Chicken Malai kebab
Lemon Chilli Fish
Spicy Asian mix-meat platters
Dahi ke kebabs
Peri peri grilled veggies
Veg Kebab platters
Barbecue meats and veggies
Smoked chicken or pork
Spicy and sour curries
5. Dark Lager Food Pairings
Go to an Irish pub, and you will find this beer at almost every table. This style of popular European dark beer gets its distinct taste from roasted malts and sweet caramel syrup. While the roasted malts give the beer a nutty flavor, the caramel provides a light sweet flavor. Dark lagers traditionally paired with European dishes, have found their place alongside Indian food too.
Tawa spicy fried fish
Kerala veg stew
6. Porter Food Pairings
Porters that originated in London in 1722 were dark, thick, silky, and strong, but today, porters are much milder. They carry their signature dark color, toasty aroma, and roasted flavors with strong notes of chocolate, caramel, and coffee. Pair a crisp porter with chocolate-based desserts, and you’ll love it. Some other food pairings worth a try are:
Kerala veg stew
Rabbit, venison, and game meats
7. Stout Food Pairings
Stouts are best known for their black color and dark, roasted flavor with a silky smooth consistency. They are low in alcohol content and bitterness and have distinct chocolate, coffee, caramel flavor. Because stouts have a chocolatey flavor and relatively low alcohol content, they are the perfect pairing for desserts. Here are some other examples of the best foods to pair with stouts:
Pad Thai stir-fried chicken noodles
Thai style spicy wings/prawns
For everyone who loves a beer and a tasty bite to eat, but wondered what food goes well with beer, now have a fair idea on the best beer and food combinations. It is time to experiment with your very own craft beer and food pairing to be a bold or beautiful beer lover.
Be brave, be beery, be Bangalorean!