One of the most engaging aspects of beer and all its magnificent complexities, is pairing it with food. Beer boldly goes beyond wine, pairing well with sushi, leafy greens and blue cheese, for example.
When deciding what style of beer to pair with which foods, get ready to break the rules. While wine experts have established strict pairing rules, beer aficionados see it as subjective and take a more relaxed stance. Every palate is different, so let your own palate be your guide.
With that in mind, here’s a rule we like to abide by: The three C’s of food and beer pairing. Use one or more of the three C’s and your pairing will be a success.
COMPLEMENT: choose a beer with similar flavor profile to the dish. If the dish is a grilled steak, then beers with similar flavors like Third Stone Brown or a Long Route Peanut Butter Porter will make the perfect complement. A spicy dish pairs well with a highly hopped Carpe Brewem Imperial IPA. If the dish is sweet or fruity, then a pale fruity beer such as Carpe Brewem Tropical Triple, a wheat like Carpe Brewem India Wheat, or a beer a honey beer like Chaco Canyon Gold will complement beautifully.
CONTRAST: choose a beer with contrasting, or opposing flavors to create a more memorable pairing. Serve a subtle and sweet Chaco Canyon Gold Ale with spicy Thai or Indian to contrast some of the hotter flavors of the meal. For those milder meals like the traditional Thanksgiving turkey, choose a big-flavored beer like Aries Marzen Oktoberfest or Third Stone Brown.
CLEANSE: choose a beer that cleanses and refreshes the palate. This one is easiest because most the carbonation naturally makes most beers ideal for cleansing the palate. Rich or fatty foods such and pizza and barbecue are best paired with pilsners like Good Life Lager because of the high carbonation and clean mouthfeel. A sour beer, such as Carpe Brewem Berliner Weisse works too because it mimics the cleansing effect of eating a refreshing sorbet between courses.
Beer and food alike contain complex layers of flavors and aromas that within themselves complement, contrast and cleanse. We encourage you to think outside the box, break the rules and pursue your own definition of a perfect pairing. After all, the best discoveries come from experimentation.
Explore the art of beer pairing with us! In conjunction with Lincoln Beer Week, Empyrean Brewing Co. is offering you exclusive access as we open the Brew House for a guided beer pairing event on May 23, 2018. Tickets to “Pursue the Brew” are $15 per person and include beer tasting with amuse-bouche pairing, education on the art of making and tasting beer, entertaining stories from the brewers, and a souvenir glass. Tickets are limited, reserve your spot today.