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Old 01-19-2011, 09:22 PM   #1
pennisim
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Default food + beer pairing

This Friday I am having my girlfriend's friends over for a beer + food pairing sort of party. These are the beers I will be serving:

Scottish Ale
Mango Belgian Pale Ale
Stout (had bacon in secondary.... but didn't get any bacon flavors)
2 different Belgian Triples (one trappist yeast, one abbey)

I was wondering if anyone had some ideas for foods/appetizers that would pair well with these?? Thank you in advance.
--Matt

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Old 01-20-2011, 10:27 AM   #2
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I think the key in beer + food pairing is matching the intensities. More intense beer flavors require more intense food flavors, or the food gets overwhelmed.

By way of example, I had a porter the other night with a turkey pot pie. Big mistake. The porter was so toasty and roasty and strong, and the pot pie was even more bland by comparison. A porter with a piece of roast, or a big burger, or even a beef pot pie (instead of mild turkey) would have been a good pairing.

The scottish is malty and a bit sweet, right? I'd put it with a really good bread, or maybe roasted fowl/poultry with sweet/caramelly sauce. Not spicy, though. Spice goes better with hops, IMO.

Mango-belgian pale ale? Umm... okay. Hmm. Tough one. Maybe with some high quality vanilla ice cream or gelatto?

Stouts are good with barbecue (IMO) or with dark meat. Pumpernickel bread or smelly cheeses are also an option.

Tripels... um. Depends, maybe the lighter one you could put with a salad using a sweet/tangy dressing, with dried fruit? Just a thought, I don't know tripels as well as I should.

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The above are just the opinions of someone who is relatively new to beer + food pairing, and should be taken as opinions/wild-arse-guesses only.

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Old 01-20-2011, 12:04 PM   #3
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Just do what you think tastes good. I don't get behind all these food pairing things. I feel like people are trying to be pretentious winos when they do it ( not that you are, just the people with strict rules). I also think wine various more than typical beer, where food pairings are more important.

But the approach I would take is to figure out what food you want to serve, then pair the beer with it as beer is very flexible, and can go with a lot of things. Just don't overwhelm the other. Serve your lighter beers with your lighter foods. I would also save the highest abv for last, or, whatever has the most intense flavors. If you start off with a robust beer, your lighter beers following might seem bland. So your most flavorful beer with dinner, sweetest with dessert, and your lighter beers with apps

Also everyone has different opinions of this. I love ipa's with a burger or pizza, but most people tell me that's not a good pairing.

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Old 01-20-2011, 12:15 PM   #4
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Scottish Ale is slightly sweet. I am going to serve that with my spent grain bread.

Mango-belgian Pale Ale: VERY subtle mango flavor. Bitterness is the key: maybe a chocolate desert w/ ice cream.

Stout (it was a bacon stout): Bacon wrapped scallops

Tripels: Still thinking...

Thanks for the help so far!

-Matt

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Old 01-20-2011, 12:15 PM   #5
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I might do something like this, off the top of my head:

Tripel - Milder bread (ie no pumpernickel, rye, etc) and cheese tray
Mango PA - I'm a fan of fruit and a hint of spiciness, so a milder soup with a touch of heat would go nice here
Tripel - Tossed greens with mandarin oranges and maybe a light honey mustard dressing
Scottish - Something hearty, smoked pork or beef would be great
Stout - Almost any dessert pairs nice.

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Old 01-20-2011, 12:16 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doctorRobert View Post
I feel like people are trying to be pretentious winos when they do it ( not that you are, just the people with strict rules).
No, I disagree. There are certain rules that work, that's why they are rules. Of course rules were made to be broken.

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But the approach I would take is to figure out what food you want to serve, then pair the beer with it as beer is very flexible, and can go with a lot of things. Just don't overwhelm the other. Serve your lighter beers with your lighter foods. I would also save the highest abv for last, or, whatever has the most intense flavors. If you start off with a robust beer, your lighter beers following might seem bland. So your most flavorful beer with dinner, sweetest with dessert, and your lighter beers with apps
I couldn't agree more with this advice. This is the essence of pairing.

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Also everyone has different opinions of this. I love ipa's with a burger or pizza, but most people tell me that's not a good pairing.
If you like it, it's a good pairing. (Rules are made to be broken.)

Just as beers vary, though, so do pizzas and burgers. A hopslam + a happy meal = travesty... but an excellent burger from a real restaurant + IPA, now that I can see as a great combo. Similar would be the difference between a frozen Tombstone and a wood-oven-fired quattro formaggio pizza... the delicacy of fresh, good food complements fresh, good beer. Cheap food needs cheap beer, and vice versa.
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Old 01-20-2011, 12:20 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whatsleftofyou View Post
Mango PA - I'm a fan of fruit and a hint of spiciness, so a milder soup with a touch of heat would go nice here
+1

Bitterness and spice can also be very good together, depending on the type of bitterness, of course. That's why you sometimes find chile-pepper-dark-chocolate, but never chile-pepper-milk-chocolate.
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Old 01-20-2011, 12:27 PM   #8
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The Tripels will go great with a cheese course. The dryness and high carbonation will help scrub off the fattiness of the cheese. I'd do a Humbolt Fog, Petit Basque, a Blue or similar and maybe one of the Chimay or Trappist beer washed cheeses. Use crackers and apples for the cheese. Humbolt Fog on an apple slice is especially good. Add some cornichon and cut up figs to round out the course.

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Old 01-20-2011, 01:45 PM   #9
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miller lite with Cheetos and slimjims

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Old 01-20-2011, 01:47 PM   #10
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I would definitely pair a light lager with junk food. Absolutely. Good choice!

(I wouldn't brag about it to my friends though. Definitely a "moped" pairing.)

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