The art of pairing foods and craft beers
Serve dad a dinner fit for a king this Father’s Day. In Texas, at the top of the list are both barbecue and chicken fried steak. And, naturally, these two Southern downhome comfort food classic also go hand-in-hand with a beer. However, selecting a craft beer to complement recipes and foods may not be so easy for everyone. Pairing foods with craft beers doesn’t have to be difficult.
The next step is to learn what types of foods to pair with your favorite new craft beers. Attending a craft beer festival is a great way to try a variety of craft beers with different foods. Or, you can learn how to marry the flavors in beers with a variety of food pairings by following a few simple steps. The Brewers Association has a three-step foolproof method to pairing foods with the right craft beer.
In Texas there seems to be three major food group categories: Barbecue, Mexican and Tex-Mex, and everything else that is not barbecue or Mexican. Gourmet guru Epicurious lists the major beer varieties as ales, bocks, fruit beers, lagers, pilsners, porters, stouts, and wheat. Below is a quick guide on the types of food to eat and serve with a variety of different beer styles.
A quick guide to pairing foods and craft beers
- Ales: A warm fermentation process with hops produces ales that are sweet in flavor and dark in color. The result is a full-bodied, fruity taste. Ales pair well with burgers, Buffalo wings, Asian foods, fried foods, pizza, steaks, and Italian cheeses such as parmesan and Romano.
- Bocks: Here, in Texas, Shiner Bock is well-known for its clean flavor and slightly sweet finish. The Spoetzl Brewery in Shiner, Texas, is the oldest independent brewery in the state. In general, bock beers are stronger in flavor with a hearty malt character. They are dark amber to brown in appearance. Bocks pair well with Gruyère, Emmental, and Swiss cheeses; Cajun foods such as jerk chicken, beef, and sausage, and seared foods.
- Fruit beers: Pair fruit beers with Mascarpone cheese, light white meats such as turkey and chicken, duck and pork dishes with sweet components, salads with fruity dressings, as well as desserts with fruits.
- Lagers: Lagers are light in both body and color. Consequently, think lite when pairing food with lagers. For the best results pair with shellfish, grilled pork and chicken, pastas without cream sauces, and Southeast Asian, Latin and Mexican foods.
- Pilsners: This pale strong hop flavored beer pairs well with salads and a variety of cheeses such as American, Muenster, Havarti, and Monterey Jack. Additionally, pair with salmon, tuna, and trout; as well as Asian and Mexican foods.
- Porters: This dark style beer is made with hops and brown malt. Pair porters with smoked foods, barbecue, sausages, rich stews, bacon, chili, and braised dishes.
- Stouts: Also dark in color dark in color, stouts are made by roasting malt or barley, hops, water and yeast. Stouts pair well with roasted, smoked, barbecue and grilled foods; oysters, rich stews, braised dishes, chocolate, and desserts.
- Wheat Beers: These beers are typically top-fermented and brewed with a large proportion of wheat relative to the amount of malted barley. Combine wheat beers with light soups and salads, vegetarian dishes, sushi; Gruyère and Feta cheeses, sweet and fruity Asian dishes, and citrus dishes including desserts and salad dressings.
The best beer complement for brisket or chicken fried steak
However, for a true Texas treat pair Double Imperial IPA with your dad’s beef brisket or chicken fried steak this Father’s Day. Check out a list of favorite varieties here. Or, make dad’s day by serving his favorite brew. Austin’s craft beer scene is sure to have one, two, or three, perfect beers to hoist in dad’s honor this Father’s Day.
Cheers and Joy!