Have you ever wondered why certain beers pair up so well with certain foods? Well, apparently there’s a science behind the perfect beer and food pairing and what you choose to drink with you dinner can ultimately make or break a dish.
According to John Laloganes, M.Ed., assistant professor at Kendall College and author of the The Beverage Manager’s Guide to Wines, Beers and Spirits book, there are three core principles when it comes to pairing up your beer and food. Laloganes believes that:
“The perfect beer and food pairing is one in which the interaction of beer and food don’t diminish the pleasure of either partner, but instead enhances each other to become a more fulfilling whole that involves them to co-mingle with one another.”
The latest infographic from Kendall College has looked into the basics of all three of the core principles of food/drink pairings to give us a better understand at what does and what definitely doesn’t pair well together.
Balance the weight
By mirroring the body and weight/intensity of both the beer and the food you can ensure that neither one is able to overwhelm each other. You need to find the right balance between rich and light food against the right balance of delicate and robust beers. For example, by combining them with rich foods with a pale ale or pilsner, you are more likely to overpower the beer with the richer food as these beers are considered to have a lighter body. If you’re going to eat rich foods, such as steak, it’s best to pair them up with a full body beer such as a stout or scotch ale.
The same would apply when you apply a robust beer with a light food. The beer will overpower your lighter dish so stick to a lighter bodied beer like pilsners when eating something light, such as spring rolls.
Compare and contrast the components
Understanding the way in which the common ingredients used in your beer will help you to understand how they contribute certain structural sensations in your mouth. This will then in turn help you to be able to create the perfect pairing with your beer and food dish. The bitterness from beers like Hops can off-set sweetness and moderate levels of richness whilst the sweetness from malt beers can off-set spice and salt when compared to sweet dishes.
Bridge the flavors
By connecting bridge ingredients in your food dish with the aromas and flavors from your beer, you are able to enhance the flavors and solidify the pairing. As an example, the reason why milk stout pairs up so well with chocolate cake is because they both share a connection to milk and cocoa. Meanwhile, American Pale Ale will blend nicely with a rosemary creamed chicken dish as they are both bridged by flavors of rosemary and juniper.
To clarify, in Laloganes very own words:
“When attempting to pair a beer with a food, consider how the drink can parallel the flow of the meal – therefore it makes sense that lighter drinks are paired with simple, lean foods prior to more robust food items being paired with heavier, bolder drinks.”
The best way to pair the right food and beer together is to follow your nose. Find the bridging flavors through the aroma of your beer.
Be sure to check out the handy infographic below so your next dinner party will be beautifully paired up.
Featured photo credit: Yuhei Kuratomi via flickr.com