Beer and Food
Beer and Food Matching
Beer is an immensely versatile drink. A huge variety of different grains, hops and other ingredients coupled with different brewing techniques gives it an even broader spectrum of flavours than wine... and like wine it can beautifully complement different types of food. Here are some suggested beer and food matches, taken from CAMRA's Good Bottled Beer Guide 4th Edition, by Jeff Evans.
|Soups - Vegetable
|Soups - Meaty
||Stouts; porters; Belgian wheat beers
||German lagers; light bitters; Belgian wheat beers
||Milds; Strong dark lagers
||Pilsners; Bavarian wheat beers; strong dark lagers
||Spicy malty ales; dark lagers
||Lagers; wheat beers
||Malty ales; Trappist ales
||Full-bodied bitters; dark lagers, Bavarian wheat beers
||Smoked beers; dark lagers
||Wheat beers; ginger / spiced beers
||Strong IPAs; premium lagers
||Floral-hopped bitters; nutty, malty ales; wheat beers
||Hoppy, fruity bitters
|Mature / Blue
||Trappist ales; old ales; barley wines
||Porters; stouts; Belgian fruit beers
||Bavarian wheat beers
||Bavarian wheat beers
Comparing Beer with Wine
For those more accustomed to choosing wine with food than beer, it may be helpful to try the beer style nearest the wine you are familiar with. Here are some suggestions taken from CAMRA's An Appetite for Ale by Fiona and Will Beckett.
|Dry white wines||Light lagers, pilsners|
|Medium to full bodied white wines (e.g. chardonnay)||Golden and blonde ales|
|Aromatic wines (sauvignon blanc, reisling)||Witbiers|
|Light reds||Cherry and raspberry beers|
|Medium bodied reds||Amber Ales|
|Full bodied reds||Full bodied, malty British ales|
|Dessert Wines||Fruit beers|
|Port||Stouts, Porters, Barley wines|
|Champagne and sparkling wine||Pilsners, beer fermented with champagne yeasts.|
Beer with Christmas Dinner
Christmas is the best time to indulge in delicious food, and the perfect accompaniment to it is a superb beer. It is an incredibly versatile drink, with more than 2,500 different varieties of real ale brewed by more than 600 breweries, and around 800 of them available as real ale in a bottle. To guide you through this bewildering range of styles and flavours, here are our recommendations for the perfect real ale in a bottle to complement your festive feast.
Note, you do not have to have a pint of each different style. In fact a small stemmed glass is a much better way to enjoy these beers with a meal and a third of a pint measure is perfect for beer and food matching.
Breakfast: Smoked salmon and scrambled eggs.
Try: An English style wheat beer.
Why: The beer will complement the delicate flavour of the fish, but is not so hoppy as to overwhelm it.
Recommended: Meantime Wheat Grand Cru (Contact brewery for stockists) or O'Hanlon's Double Champion Wheat. (Available at Booths, Thresher and Majestic).
For an Aperitif, try fruit beer such as Meantime Raspberry Grand Cru (Contact brewery for stockists).
Starter: Vegetable Soup
Try: A pale bitter.
Why: The gentle perfume flavours of the beer will complement the taste of the vegetables and leave a pleasant hoppy aftertaste.
Recommended: Coniston Bluebird Bitter. (Available at Asda, Booths, Co-op, Sainsbury's, Waitrose).
Main Course: Turkey.
Try: Malty Ales.
Why: The bittersweet malt will bring out the subtler tastes of the turkey without overpowering the flavours in the vegetables and trimmings.
Recommended: Fuller's 1845. (Available at Asda, Sainsbury's, Tesco, Waitrose).
Vegetarian: Nut Loaf.
Try: A Malty Ale suitable for vegetarians.
Why: The spicy, smoky flavours of the malt will complement the nuttiness of the dish.
Recommended: Black Isle Organic Scotch Ale (Suitable for vegans. Contact the brewery for stockists).
Dessert: Christmas pudding or mince pies.
Try: A dark stout or porter.
Why: The roast coffee and chocolate flavours in dark stout or porter are a perfect match with sweet desserts (including the after dinner chocolate mint).
Recommended: Titanic Stout. (Available at Sainsbury's).
As a digestive try a barley wine such as the 2006 Champion Winter Beer of Britain, A over T by Hog's Back Brewery (available at Harrods).
This recipe, by Susan Nowak, revives a traditional British winter drink.
Ingredients for 12 people.
3 pints of dark, malty ale
3 measures of rum
Stick of cinnamon
Pinch each of nutmeg and ginger
1 dessertspoon of dark treacle or molasses
Simply place all the ingredients in a large, attractive, flameproof casserole, cover, place over the lowest possible heat and leave to come very slowly to barely simmering. Remove the lid and turn off the heat, letting it stand for a few minutes to cool slightly. Serve in small, heavy tumblers.