A match made in a bar

Aug 03, 2018, 08:23 IST | Dhara Vora Sabhnani

Food pairing isn't limited to high-brow wine connoisseurs. Beer offers countless flavour profiles that work well with different dishes. Here's your guide to beer and food pairing on International Beer Day

A match made in a bar

If a glass of wine and beer were to be placed together, the latter would most probably be considered the bourgeois cousin among the two. However, when it comes to food pairing, beers offer a lot more flavours and ingredients to play with.

Woodside Inn, Colaba
Woodside Inn, Colaba

"Wine has lesser and subtler differences. In beer, the grains, alcohol percentage and the hops make a difference," says Pankil Shah, co-owner Neighbourhood Hospitality (Woodside Inn). Manu Gulati, director and master brewer of Effingut brewpub agrees. "The country and region of origin of the grain makes each brew different; the roasting and ageing process adds more flavour; the malt; flavour of hops [citrusy, fruity, woody, floral]; yeast; spices - the many raw materials provide endless possibilities. There are two ways to pair your beer - one is to bridge, for example, an English ale would have toasted malts, pairing it with a grilled steak would extend the flavour. The second way is to balance two opposing tastes," says Gulati. Here's your guide to pairing your brew right.

Effingut. Pics/Bipin Kokate, Atul Kamble
Effingut. Pics/Bipin Kokate, Atul Kamble

India Pale Ale
"It's a classic combination - a hoppy beer with fruitiness. Indians prefer lower bitterness. In fact, the IPAs we get here are mostly simple pale ales, the American style double IPAs have a much higher level of bitterness. But it's not a lasting bitterness, it dies pretty quickly," explains Shah who prefers a meaty burger to balance the notes. "Something soft and cheesy, such as pork belly with blue cheese sauce works well with IPA," says Dhanraj Shinde, co-founder Kaitlyn's Beer Garden, who says people either love IPA or find it too bitter.

Double IPA with double cheddar tenderloin burger at Woodside Inn
Double IPA with double cheddar tenderloin burger at Woodside Inn

Wheat Beer

Wheat beer
Hefeweizen (German) is the most popular beer among all options available across city breweries. Other common types are Belgian wits and dunkelweizen (a darker hefe due to the addition of roasted malts). "When hefeweizen is fermented, it develops a flavour of banana and clove, it's not added, but you can smell it. Fruity esters are a by-product of the fermentation. You also get a little bit of bubblegum. So you should accentuate the fruitiness and not fight it. A salad which has a fruit and herb, such as the watermelon feta salad [in pic] works with this," says Gulati.

Belgian wits are great for first time beer tasters and have the aroma of coriander and orange zest, says Shinde. "It is versatile with food and goes well with white meat and can handle spicy dishes, such as a Mangalorean chicken ghee roast aromatics," says Oliver Schauf, brew master, Doolally.

Beer

Lager
"The good thing about lager is that it does not develop a side profile, like banana in hefeweizen. It is a well-balanced beer, so the palate is open. It's great for beginners to understand beer pairing. That's why most bottled varieties are lager," says Gulati. Lagers are brewed in low temperature. One such option is marzen (German), which is brewed in March (hence the name) and aged till October to serve during the Oktober Fest. Pilsners (from Pilsen, Czech Republic) are also lagers. Lagers are best paired with simple food like fries or pizzas.

Larger

Mead and cider
Though not beers, craft meads and ciders are quite popular in city breweries. "Sparkling, bubbly and tarty, apple cider will fit into your brunch squad. This brew is semi-dry with refreshing acidity, and your choice for easy-drinking. The mildly sweet dryness will go well with anything that's mildly spiced and fresh. Try it with a veg Caesar salad, or pita with hummus and zataar," says Schauf. Meads are made with honey. With a sweet backbone, grilled meats, and juicy meats pair well.

Stout
"Stouts have a roasted flavour similar to what you taste in coffee or chocolate. So to enhance the flavour; eat it with a chocolate pudding. If not sweet, anything you would want to eat with coffee would go well, such as bread. I have even served stouts with a scoop of vanilla ice cream; it acts similarly as coffee with ice cream. To play with the roasted flavour, something like a smoked ham flat bread with scarmoza should be tried with a stout," says Gulati.

Beer

Cool offers
Month-long fun
If you think one day isn't enough to celebrate your love for beer, then this is the place for you. Avail your Beer Boarding Pass and make your way through the lagers of Belgium, Germany, Holland and Mexico, and get a free beer once you cover all them.
AT: All The Beer Cafe outlets.
CALL: 62370667 (Lower Parel).

New age
If you are one with a taste for the sweeter side of life, experience draught beer with a twist. Mixologist Ami Shroff has created beer cocktails with infusions of espresso, Campari, rose sour, among other options.
AT: London Taxi, Kamala Mills, Lower Parel.
Offer: Buy-one-get-one

CALL: 7710082222

Frothy fiesta
Enjoy the last day of this four-day long Beer Carnival at this suburban watering hole that is offering a bucket of four pints of beer with a round of nachos for Rs 699.
AT: Tippling Street, Juhu Tara Road.
CALL: 9459469460

Pint-sized fun
This brewery has two offers for the lager-lover in you. You can not only buy two beers and get one free but also buy a pint of your favourite beer and get one free. They also offer their own selection of craft beers.
AT: British Brewing Co across the city.
CALL: 39698190

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