In Beer

craft beer and food pairings

Craft beer fans love it for its uniqueness, its character and its willingness to push the boundaries of flavor beyond what the mainstream brewers produce. Whether someone is just getting into the craft beer scene or they are a long-time beer connoisseur, consumers are looking for something exciting and pleasing to the palate when they order a craft beer. In this way, lovers of craft beer are also often lovers of good food. Having a beer that compliments their meal can often be just as important as the quality of the meal overall.

The key to pairing food and beer is complimentary flavors. You want your food to have a pleasant interaction with your beer, something that brings out the flavor in each other, but doesn’t overpower or contrast to harshly. For example, beer and fried chicken are a long-known and well-loved duo. Entire restaurants are dedicated to this pairing, some having extensive menus and options to mix and match and others offer a few tried and true pairings. Most will pair a delicious fried wing with a lighter-bodied and full-flavored beer because the lighter tones won’t overpower the chicken, but the hops will clear away the greasy feeling and leave your taste buds refreshed.

To perfect your pairing, make sure to match the strength of your beer with the strength of your food. Having a beer that’s full of flavor and a meal that is lighter in flavor will allow the beer to overpower your food, and vice versa. Also consider the richness, sweetness, and spiciness of your food. If you are having a spicy dish with lots of heat, the bitterness of hops can often emphasize the spiciness in an uncomplimentary way. However, a beer with lots of malt will balance and compliment the heat well.

Having the perfect craft beer to compliment your food can bring a lackluster meal to life, and whether you are a restaurant owner, craft brewer, or just a lover of food and beer, knowing how to create the perfect pairing is a valuable skill. If you own a restaurant, make sure your patrons know what beers will pair well with their meal and bring out the flavors in your food. Having a well-rounded menu of flavors will put you a cut above the rest. If you are a craft brewer, knowing what foods pair well with your beers let your consumers know that you are in touch with the intimate flavors of your craft and they will be more willing to pick your brew when they see it on tap. And if you are just the average craft beer and food lover, knowing these skills will enhance your dining experience.


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