I was sick one day, home from work and bored out of my mind. So I decided to search Hulu for any show’s on Beer. Up comes the show “The Taste” with the episode titled “Good with Beer“. “Ahhh” I thought, “Just my kind of show!”. But what came about was a horrible way to introduce anyone to how well beer pairs with food and in it. Comments from the Chef’s such as “you need something salty to go with beer” and “you need something spicy with beer” really got my hops in a bunch. And mostly they were referring to light lagers (from what I could tell). Don’t get me started on beer in food, almost everything was fried. This show as a train wreck of bad ideas, but I had to watch it to the end to see if it could redeem itself. It, sadly, did not.
On the other hand I persevered in my search of good “Beer-tainment”. I found the show “United Tastes of America” aptly titled “Beer“. It was actually enlightening. Instead of thinking of beer in a singular flavor, 2D fashion the host and chef’s thought well about the multitude of complex flavors and styles of beer that could pair well with a meal. Or use it’s flavors in place of common components to enhance the end product. Such as using the Bittering of a Hoppy beer for the bitter component. Or the coffee/chocolate of a Stout for a dessert.
So this leads me to a couple of pairing charts that may be helpful. One from Abita called “The Beer Wheel” (in fact there are many variations from many sources on this). Another from Craftbeer.com from the Brewers Association, which is named Craft Beer and Food Pairings. And this one is more of a flavor wheel than a pairing wheel, but I think it’s probably more versatile because it helps you define the flavor components and possibly help you cook with beer. Oddly it comes from a Wine site, titled Beer Flavor Wheel (nice and original).
Here’s two recipes to get your started, one from Alton Brown at the Food Network named “Beer Bread“, and here’s another (not from Alton) named “Beer-Cheese Burgers“.
So the next time you have a beer with your food you don’t always have to think pilsner/lager and fried food. Experiment with the flavors but most importantly drink what tastes good to you.