Beer and food matching

Our sensory experts can describe flavours in beer and food and help you understand how the different flavours interact.

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Our sensory experts can describe flavours in beer and food, and help you understand how the different flavours interact. The flavours in beer can complement food flavours very well, for centuries beer has been the traditional beverage to accompany meals. There is a growing interest in pairing beer with food.

Barley is used to make the malt for brewing and the malts can be dried to give a range of different colours and flavours: from pale biscuit malts to caramel and toasted malts. Hops add a unique flavour that is only found in beer. Hop flowers are used to make beer bitter and to give floral, citrus, herbal and spicy flavours. Both hops and yeast can give fruity flavours. There is a huge range of beers available.

We're often asked which beer goes well with which food so here are a few guidelines that will help:

The citrus hop and sweet malty flavour of golden ales pair well with the herby and sweet flavours in the sunblush tomatoes and cuts through the creaminess of this mozzarella cheese dish. The light acidity in beer also helps to refresh and clean the palate after eating meat and pastry dishes.

Beers brewed in a country will often compliment local food. Traditionally, hoppy and malty English ales were drunk with roasted and cold meats and cheeses. The bitterness and acidity of the beer helps to cut through the fatty and creamy foods as this amber ale demonstrates nicely with the pork pie and cheese dish.

This Belgian fruit beer has a sweet cherry fruit and refreshing sour flavour that goes perfectly with chocolate desserts, a bit like a deconstructed Black Forest gateau. Fruit beer would traditionally be paired with rich fatty meats like pate or sausage as the acidity of the beer helps to cut through the fattiness of the meat and refresh the palate

The light fruity and spicy flavours of wheat beers can be paired with sweet and spicy desserts such as carrot cake or to accompany the more traditional fare of spicy meats and fish

The flavours that make up beer vary enormously from cereal, caramel and smoky flavours to fruity citrus, spicy, bitter and sweet. So, there you have it some simple guidelines for some successful beer and food pairings. If you want to find out more, perhaps how to pair your own beers with food as part of new product development, or if you would like to attend one of our courses please get in touch.

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