Now, I suspect I may be ruffling a few feathers this month as I raise the subject of beer and food matching.
Yes, many beer and food writers – and indeed some prominent chefs – seem to be highlighting the joys of tucker with your beery tipples.
Let’s face it, food is undoubtably easier to pair with beer, than with wineMark Briggs
A steak with your stout; a golden, citrus laden ale with your curry; a porter with your pudding.
However, I feel some of the scribblings and commentaries are far too detailed and over the top as you witness a list of pairings, that, in my opinion, only serves to confuse – and put you in “head scratching” mode!
Let’s face it, food is undoubtably easier to pair with beer, than with wine – infinitely easier, no argument. So, one might say: “Does it really matter what beer you have with your food?” In most cases, probably not.
Okay, some foods are a stand-out pairing with some beers. A crisp, refreshing pale ale, is a perfect marriage with a salad or a seafood dish.
A strong ale or stout will certainly compliment steak, beef burgers and hearty casseroles – well, any meat laden dish to be honest. And for the “sweet tooth” brethren among us, this more robust beverage will ideally accompany a chocolate influenced dessert.
But hey, let’s face it, anything goes - tone down all this seriousness.
If you are in the mood for a bitter with your bangers or lager with your lasagne - then so be it.
You are the judge.
There is no 11th Commandment saying “thou shalt match a certain beer to a certain type of food”.
The bottom line is, your taste buds are the judge.
In all the many years I have been quaffing beer, I don’t recall ever having a pairing that didn’t appear to work.
I can well understand pubs and restaurants wishing to recommend a beer to complement a dish, on their menu.
It does indeed raise the profile of this fine beverage. It alerts patrons to try a beer with their food – and to not necessarily assume that wine is the only marriage.
It’s not too hard to master, believe me, pairing food with beer, although some would have you believe that it is.
Just think about pairing the strength and intensity of the beer, with the strength and intensity of the flavours on your plate.
For example: lighter beers, like crisp, Czech Pilsners, with salads, fish, chicken – or maybe with an appetiser; robust, stronger ales like stouts with a more wholesome , heartier dish.
My favourite pairing is a tradition English bitter, with fish and chips( are you salivating?).
Classic ale with comfort food in the extreme – I’m a man of simple tastes – and I suspect a lot of you are too.
So, there you have it, my take on tipples and tucker.
It is quite a hot topic, a topic some would say is quite complex and detailed. Nah, it’s not too difficult to explain, in my opinion.
Think on, Jamie, Heston and Nigella!