2 Oct 2013

GUEST POST: Food Couture, The Art of Food and Beer Pairing

BEER is renowned for its variety of flavours, which gives it incredible flavour matching prowess (writes Nakia Garriques). As well as its versatilities, many food lovers are suddenly realising beer’s amazing ability to be paired with all of kinds of food, which has resulted in a massive surge in the growth of beer sommeliers and beer and food tasting events...
Beer has an abundance of flavours food lovers can experiment with. Rich flavours such as hops, barley, spices, chocolate/nuts, fruit/vegetables, coriander and orange peel, to name a few, have given beer superior pairing qualities. Many people still find the art of cooking with beer complicated, but its mix of sweetness and dryness, balanced by the bitterness of hops, can make it ideal for adding a rich sweetness to most sauces, enhancing and enriching a meal. 
The best types of beers to use in cooking are ales, lagers and maybe even stouts, which are great for pudding and cocktails. As a simple rule, beer with a malt accent or malty lagers are excellent for pairing with chicken or pork, whereas red meats such as lamb or beef pair well with the richer, fruity ales. Spicy food lovers should choose lager and it’s best to use dark beer for robust dishes and light beer for lighter dishes.
When cooking with beer ensure you know whether you will be using the beer as a flavour enhancer, as a natural meat tenderiser or a deglazing agent. Choose a reputable brand of beer to cook with, something you know you will enjoy, and ensure that the beer is at room temperature. When thinking of how much beer to use, the rule is never to overdo it to the point where the taste overpowers the flavour of the food and causes it to be inedible. You can avoid this problem by using a measuring device created for liquids.

To help you make better choices, here are some favourite common beers, with some food pairing and serving suggestions: 
  1. Rich dishes such as stews are best complimented by opting for Nut Brown Ale; 
  2. Meat dishes go extremely well with Strong Belgian; 
  3. Desserts work best with Fruity Beers; 
  4. Wheat Ales are brilliant at improving the flavour in most seafood and poultry dishes; 
  5. Lager is best suited to baking; 
  6. Lager Smooth, light beer, goes well with fish and curry dishes; 
  7. Pale Ale Light, slight fruity ale goes well with salads, fish and pork;
  8. Pilsner Light-bodied, mild malt beer with its flowery aroma goes brilliantly with soups and pizza; 
  9. Brown Ale Smooth, is excellent with chicken, salads and pork. 
So there you have it; beer is an excellent food enhancer and can leave your food tasting rich and yummy. If you are worried that you are not the best cook in town, don’t worry there are plenty of cooking courses you can choose from in London and weekend cooking courses to take you from amateur to pro in no time. If, like me, you are too busy to attend cooking classes there are also lots of online courses for you to choose from that will take your cooking skills up a notch or two. Until next time, remember beer isn’t just for drinking, it’s great for cooking, too.