Tag Archives: beer and food pairing

Beer and Food Pairing Quick Shot: Rev. Nat’s Sacrilege Sour Cherry Cider and Chocolate Cake

Rev. Nat’s is a new cider to North Carolina coming all the way from Oregon.  One thing that makes it different from most other ciders is that Nat uses beer yeast instead of champagne yeast.  That lends a heftier mouthfeel and different esters and taste profile.  For the Sacrilege, Nat chose English ale yeast.  It is a specific one from a specific brewery, but I don’t think he is allowed to publicly say which, but he told me and a few other beer/cider people here in Charlotte when he came in for the product launch.  If you are beer geek at some point you’ve drunk this beer from Cheswick, England.

Anyway, Sacrilege is a cider using 100% Granny Smith apples and Montmorency and Morello sour cherries with a hint of red pepper to add a spicy dryness.

The cherry flavor, the sourness, and the touch of dry spiciness makes this a great drink to pair with a nice decadent chocolate cake.  I highly recommend it.

Beer and Food Pairing: Twin Leaf Rosemary IPA and A Bunch of Vegetarian Food

What makes a good beer and food pairing?

For me, it starts with the abiding thought (THE abiding thought when it comes to beer) that beer is fun and should be enjoyed.  As long as you are drinking beer, there are no “bad” pairings.  There are pairings that are less successful than others, but if the beer is good, everything will be OK.

Another thing that makes for a great beer and food pairing is the people with whom you are eating and drinking.  Again, the overriding beer thought must be that beer is to be enjoyed with people you like and care about around you.  That makes every pairing worthwhile.

Enough with the philosophical aspects of beer and food pairings, let’s get to what makes a particular beer work with a particular food?  Why does beer work so well with food?

First, beer is a cooked product.  From the malting to the boil, beer is affected by heat the same way the meal you are preparing is (unless of course, you are eating a salad).  Many of the ways you describe food are also how you describe the ingredients of beer.

Also, the natural carbonation of beer helps clean the palate between sips and between bites helping make each bite a separate experience.

So, how do I use all that philosophy and technical/physical aspects of beer to make a beer and food pairing?  First, I try to match intensity.  I don’t want either the food or the beer to overwhelm the other.

If I’m doing a beer tasting I try to pick foods that either merely clean the palate or allow the beer to shine through with no interference.  In a beer and food pairing, you are going for the opposite.  I want both parts of the pairing to highlight and complement each other and help each other bring out their best parts.

Once I’ve decided on the intensity, if I start with the food, I then think about the characteristics of the food and what beer characteristics would highlight the food best or vice versa. Is the food savory/sweet? Does it have an herbal/vegetal taste?  Is it spicy? Is it creamy? I consider all that as I decide what beer I pick.  Not only am I looking to resonate the food and beer, I’m also looking to contrast the food and beer.

Mouthfeel is my favorite way to get a contrast.  If I have a food that is creamy I usually like to hit it with a beer with good carbonation and crispness. Think Belgian Tripel.  Another place I like to find contrast is spiciness with creaminess.  One of my favorites is to drink a stout or porter with spicy food like Mexican or Thai.

The one place I always have trouble with is pairing beer with sweet foods.  This is another place where dark beers come in handy.  You can either go with matching sweet with sweet or what I prefer is to match dry with sweet.  A good Irish stout comes in handy.

For the initial beer and food pairing that spawned this post, I paired the Twin Leaf Rosemary IPA with a meal, my girlfriend made. The meal consisted of tofu seared in a Marsala rub, sautéed mushrooms, and roasted Brussel sprouts with balsamic vinegar.  If you can’t tell, I’m a vegetarian.

What I liked about this pairing is how the rosemary married with the hops in the IPA in a great way.  Sometimes, rosemary can be very overpowering, but in this case, just the right amount was used allowing the rosemary and hops to play well together and complement one another.  The other thing I like with this dish was how the rosemary harmonized with the spices in the rub and with the sautéed mushrooms.  Then the hoppiness and crispness of the beer cut through the creaminess of the tofu and balanced out the sweetness of the balsamic vinegar.

This the kind of everyday beer and food pairing that makes life more fun.  Not every beer and food pairing should be an attempt at a 7-course meal where you are trying to recreate a Henry VIII feast.  It should be good food, good beer, and good company all harmonizing together to let you have a good time.

One Beer Article You Need To Read And Why, 2/26/17

I don’t want to write about distribution caps, failed business plans, or legacy brewers raging against the dying of the light today.  Let’s talk about cheese.  More importantly cheese and beer.  It is a glorious combination that everyone should enjoy.

Here is a quick article to get you started on your beer and cheese journey if you haven’t already done so.

My plan for the day is to pair a few Belgian style beers I have with an assortment of cheeses.  Why am I doing this you may ask. Because I can.  So, I can write about it here later today or more likely tomorrow. To work on my beer and food pairing for the Cicerone exam.  Most importantly, I like beer and I like cheese.

The beers for this experiment are (assuming I can get through all of them without passing out) Blackberry Farms Quad, Blackberry Farms Brett Saison, Holy Mountain Witchfinder, Grimm Candlepower, and Four Saints Murder On The River.

For my cheeses, today, I will go with a gruyere, camembert, a washed rind cheese maybe, and a big old sharp cheddar.  That should be a good range of cheeses as far as flavor and texture to get me started on the day.

Wish me luck.  This could end badly in so many ways.

Five Beer Articles You Need To Read And Why, 6/9/16

Thursday is here and the week is almost done.  This is my Wednesday because my days off are shifted a day off of everyone else’s.

Five Beer Articles You Need To Read And Why, 6/7/16

Tuesday has arrived.  Yesterday was my first day since moving that I just got to chill in my new space.  It felt great to be home and not have to worry about packing, moving, or unpacking.  I still have a lot of stuff to do, but until I get the rest of my furniture there is no need. Onto the Five Articles.

Five Beer Articles You Need To Read And Why, 2/25/16

This will be quick.  I have another blog post that was supposed to be up yesterday to finish editing and post before I leave for work.

Five Beer Articles You Need To Read And Why, 1/12/16

There is not a lot of news out today.  Here is what I’ve found that interests me.

Five Beer Articles You Need To Read And Why, 1/11/16

“All my big mistakes are when I try to second-guess or please an audience. My work is always stronger when I get very selfish about it.” – David Bowie, 2003 The Word

My cell phone is also my alarm. So, when it goes off in the morning, I turn off the alarm and do a quick glance through my alerts to see if anything of absolute importance has occurred.  It usually just tells me that I have a list of new tweets on my timeline.  So, this morning I’m going through my timeline and maybe two or three tweets in I see David Bowie has died.  At first, I didn’t believe it because he just released an album.

Five Beer Articles You Need To Read And Why, 1/8/16

Beer isn’t a widget.  Beer isn’t a sprocket or any other industrial product made by factories. Big beer companies, one, in particular, doesn’t get the distinction.  They have until this point failed to understand craft beer because at the upper reaches of the company they think of beer as a product and may as well be making widgets for cars.  That is why they are buying craft brewers: to take advantage of the loyalty and creativity of craft drinkers and craft brewers.  If ABInbev was smart they would buy these regional breweries and leave them alone, but provide them with greater distribution.  However, that isn’t what is going to happen.  They are going to try to “fix” these brewers and make them more efficient and make their product more accessible to the everyday beer drinker. That is why this strategy will “fail” eventually.  I may not think these acquisitions are some kind of death knell, however, I do not like them.  I do not like them because they are assimilation that will eat at what makes craft beer special which is the individuality and creativity of each brewer.  The culture of craft beer is as important as the beer.  Primary in that is that it treats beer with respect and as the end unto itself letting the beer be what sells itself. That is why we in craft beer must be vigilant and must keep supporting our local brewers as much as we can.