Bottoms up! The perfect pairing guide: Beer treats & sweetmeats
This is a continuation of my previous two articles, which talked about creating flavour profiles of beer. Now that you know how to profile your beer, it’s a simple matter of matching that to various foods.
I’m going to stick to some basic styles that are popular in India and easily accessible to most of us. If you’re looking for a specific type of food pairing, feel free to get in touch for a chat. So let’s get started -
To begin with, let us look at the highest selling lager around, Kingfisher Premium. With its pleasant grainy and faint yeast aroma, this beer has been our go-to for all Indian cuisines, and pairs well with lighter foods as well as hearty spicy fare. However, give it a try with a hearty Vermont cheese, White cheddar, Lemon shortbread or a Passion Fruit bread pudding, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
The all-time favourite wheat beers like the Hefeweizen pair perfectly with lighter foods like salads, seafood and sushi. If you’re feeling cheesy, try pairing this with a simple chèvre goat cheese or a herbed spread like a Bourin. A Hefeweizen also goes wonderfully with strawberry shortcake or a key lime pie!
Another popular wheat beer is the Belgian styled Witbier. Try pairing this one with light seafood dishes. My favourite food with a good Wit is a platter of steamed mussels. Witbier pairs extremely well with Mascarpone or a herbed cheese spread on crackers. For dessert, try it with an orange sorbet or a panna cotta with lemon.
If you’re ever in Pune, visit TVUM and try the Malaka Top Hats with Kimaya Brewing Company’s Witbier – pure bliss!
Raising the steaks
If you’re an IPA (India Pale Ale) fan like I am, pair this with every single curry. The bitterness of the beer cuts through the spiciness on your tongue, cleanses your palate, and gets you ready for the next bite.
Any strong spicy food goes well with an IPA. Pairing an IPA with a milder blue cheese like a Gorgonzola or Cambozola is an experience on its own. You’d be surprised to know that the bitterness of an IPA goes very well with desserts like an apple tart, carrot cake, caramel cheese cake or even crème brulèe.
While there are a variety of stouts available to us today, I’m going to talk about my favourite, which is a dry stout. This beer has to be tried with oysters!
Unfortunately, oysters aren’t available on the menu of craft breweries that serve dry stouts, so pair this style with any steak or meat pies, and you cannot go wrong. Don’t miss out on a cheese pairing like with a Dubliner cheddar or any Irish-like cheese. And ending the night with a soufflè, tiramisu or mocha mascarpone mousse is a must!
On similar lines as stout is another dark beer called a porter. Recently, I had the pleasure of trying the Vanilla porter brewed by Kimaya Brewing Company along with a leg of lamb marinated overnight in stone ground spice, slow roasted in a pit roaster.
An eye-opening experience for sure. If you want to try this, you’ll need to visit TVUM in Pune again.
George Jacob is the Founder and Partner of The Beer Chronicles - a brewing consultancy. He is a Brew Master, certified in Craft Beer by Brewers Association, a Cicerone® Level 1, and a Certified Beer Steward by the Institute of Brewing & Distilling, London.