Beers for Restaurants

Beer for restaurants main

Food and drink have always been deliciously intertwined, with both being able to use flavour and aroma to portray a sense of culture and place. Beer is an extremely versatile drink to use to pair with food.

In terms of ingredients, beer is effectively completely unrestrained; brewers have a vast library of yeast strains and fermentation styles to play with; beers can cover a very wide range of bitterness, pH, and ABV. As such, it becomes much easier to find that absolutely perfect match for a dish.

Many restaurants keeping a closer eye on their sustainability will place geographical limitations on where they are willing to source beer from, preferring to source beers strictly from within their county or perhaps even city. While this approach is commendable in its eco-friendly credentials, it is severely limiting and arguably not customer friendly, as the chief criteria for selection is proximity rather than quality. Additionally, many of these restaurants will only keep this policy for beer, and continue to offer a globally sourced wine and spirits list.

When it comes to choosing that essential beer to match with your food it’s important to keep an open mind. It’s fairly senseless to have hard and fast rules relating to beer style and dish type. The only way to get it right is with a glass in one hand, and a dish in front of you. Aroma is an essential factor to consider, with most of our perception of flavour being sensed by our nose rather than the tongue. This information is processed by the olfactory bulb, and passed on to the hippocampus and amygdala, areas of the brain also strongly linked to emotion, memory, and learning. In an instant, an aroma can take you back to a specific memory and place, triggering other automatic physical responses that heighten the entire experience. If your aromas don’t compliment each other, this process is unlikely to be triggered and the experience will fall flat. Balance is essential.

Pairing a heavily smoked beer with a dish that relies on delicate subtle flavours is unlikely to be a success. Another factor very seldom considered is the carbonation level in the beer. High carbonation will increase the perceived acidity in a dish, and will also assist in lifting the aromas up into the nasal cavity. Additionally, it will have a cleansing effect on the palate, which can be used to great effect when faced with heavier, more mouth-coating ingredients. Bitterness in beer needs to be used with care when pairing with food, as it can be horribly clashing. Use it to help cut through fatty or oily dishes, or even work alongside smoked ingredients. Don’t be afraid to use contrasting flavours, as these can lead to unexpected surprises. Why not consider a sour beer stacked up against a particularly smoky dish?

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