As I mentioned in my last post, I was given a misguided suggestion concerning a beer to drink with my dinner. This got me to thinking about the whole subject concerning pairing food with beer.
As many of you may know, I have a degree in wine and have occasion to dine at fancy meals in which the wine has been carefully chosen to drink with dinner. As is true with wine, there are many people that will drink their favorite beer with everything they eat. I have several friends that really only drink red wine and others that only drink white. This is a shame in my opinion. For unless it is a case where they simply find the alternative undrinkable, they are missing all the benefits of drinking a wine that compliments the food in front of them. Red wine with a mild white fish, for example, will bury the subtle flavors of the fish. You might as well be eating tofu.
So it is with many beers. While it is no secret that I am drawn to IPAs i find that the best pairings with them is a salty snack. Most foods are not improved by the bitter hops so forward in IPAs. It is no secret that Lagers and mild Ales pair well with most foods, and it is for a very good reason. The mild character of a lager makes for a refreshing pairing with most foods without overwhelming the foods flavors.
This is not to say that a dunkel or a rauchbier would not pair wonderfully with a smoked ham, but this is an exception to the rule. Mild Stouts, such as Guiness also go well with broiled meats and stews, but a Guiness has no place at the table of sushi, for example. There a Japanese beer such as Kirin is perfect. Who would have thought. As they say in Italy,” if it grows together, it goes together.”
But now you have the Imperial stouts, the kriek beers, the sours, the IPAs; these are best drunk with few accompaniments. Perhaps Doritos, potato chips or peanuts are a good choice, as they clear the palate a bit for the next sip. But the object of this exercise is to enjoy the beer in hand, not find the perfect compliment to a meal. While there are a few food items that pair well with the afore mentioned beer styles, it is by and large, the beer you are drinking that is the object d’etre.
So if you are looking for a change from your MDG or Bud to try with your next meal, why not try a Kolsch beer or a mild Belgium. This will expand your dining horizon, without ruining your meal.