Not long ago you probably would have laughed if someone has suggested pairing a beer with food in a serious tone, but within the world in which we now live, it seems that even the humble pint of beer can be elevated from the mass guzzling at sports games to a more sophisticated way of sipping, with tasting sessions, artisanal brands and serious food pairings becoming far more the norm.
Now seen on restaurant menus and special nights being put aside to allow for tasting sessions, beer is being taken far more seriously with a lot more care attention being put into its creation thanks to craft beer producers all over the country. It isn’t just gin that has seen an upsurge in producers seeking a slice of the pie either with microbreweries popping up everywhere to offer small batch brews to discerning drinkers.
According to the latest statistics, there are 1,897 active microbreweries in the UK, which considering the fact that there were 1,032 in 2012 shows just how quickly the trend to create your own has risen. If you are a proud producer of the nectar or you are a reseller of the tasty tipple, then you will likely be looking for as much guidance or information as possible, when it comes to anything from finding your place on the market to pricing it up to sell on to the consumer. Untappd’s guide will come in handy for the latter and offers a helpful pricing guide for those who run establishments that sell craft beer.
If, on other hand, you’re a happy consumer of the stuff, then you probably love the idea of having many more options to choose from at a bar, restaurant or shop than you previously would have had. Popular brews in the UK include BrewDog Punk IPA, Camden Hells Lager, Camden Town Pale Ale, Beavertown’s Neck Oil, Marston’s Shipyard, Brooklyn Lager, Blue Moon, while other highly rated drinks include Cornwall’s Korev lager, Signature Brew’s Studio lager, Babbling Brook English IPA, and many more.
With so many options to choose from, it can be difficult to know where to start, or perhaps you stick with one or two that you know you enjoy, but the good news is that there are plenty of ways in which you can try out some newer options to see if you like them. One of the more popular options, thanks to the pandemic’s lockdowns, is to buy a mixed case and try at home, this could be a great way to organise a tasting session with friends and sample a good amount in one go. Alternatively, there are brewery tours you can go on, learning more about how your favoured craft beers are made, while enjoying some samples as you go or you could head out to a local bar a try a selection of tasters there, freshly poured and served at just the right temperature.
Because craft beers have had so much care attention put into their creation, it seems very justifiable that they might be considered as a suitable food pairing, after all, not everyone enjoys wine as much as they do beer. And there’s something rather satisfying about enjoying a crisp pint of lager with a plate of fresh fish and chips at the seaside or alongside a tasty pizza fresh out of the pizza oven. But what else makes a good pairing for a pint?
As a general rule, and similar as to how wine might be paired with food, it’s best to match lighter drinks such as blonde ales with lighter foods like chicken, salmon and salads, while meats like roast beef, lamb or game would be well paired with an old or strong ale. Alcohol content, flavour, colour and bitterness all play a part in how you enjoy your craft beer with food, but ultimately, it’s down to what you enjoy drinking and eating and finding a balance that works well for your taste buds.