Pairing Craft Beers With Food

If you’re making a feast for your friends this weekend while working on a culinary course, skip the typical wine and cocktail pairings and instead choose craft beers. Microbrews have become widely popular and recently made their way to tables of high-quality food establishments across the country. Craft beers, unlike other conventionally brewed beers, have complex and intricate flavors because they are produced in smaller batches with the best barley and hops around. These beers have a wide range of flavor and intensity that makes them excellent companions with just about any dish you prepare in your culinary arts programs. Their versatility may even rival that of wine!

Before pairing a craft beer with any course, it is important to understand the ingredients of the beverage. Unlike wine, there is no cut and dry rule for pairing a brew with the type of recipe being served.

Beer ingredients
The ingredients used in craft beers are what give them such unique and complex flavors. When deciding a pairing, it is just as important to consider how a dish was prepared as it is to keep in mind what the main component of the meal is. A microbrew’s flavor profile is determined by three key elements: the malt, the flavor of the hops and how bitter the hops are.

Malt is the sweetest craft beer component and can reduce the heat of spicy foods. A beer that has more malt also pairs very well with grilled, roasted or smoked items because it shares a lot of the same flavor qualities.

Hops have two characteristics that affect the beer: bitterness and flavor. The bitter aspect of hops can balance out sweeter courses and make greasy or fatty foods seem less dense. Hops also play a large role in the development of craft beers, depending on what types are used and when they are added during the brewing process.

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