See also: Beer Trivia; Beer Quotes
BEER AND FOOD
Belgians, who happen to be the world’s most enthusiastic beer consumers have known for centuries how well-brewed, flavourful beers complement and enhance the taste of food.
In North America, the mainstream beer with its sweetish “corn” taste and weak flavour really cannot enhance any serious dish. In this respect huge, multinational breweries with worldwide distribution have rendered beer a huge disservice. This may well be the reason of constantly declining beer consumption.
Honest, well-brewed beer enhances any flavourful dish. It can also be used in cooking, marinades, stuffings, breads and batters.
Fortunately during the last two decades more and more small breweries have been coming on stream with beers perfectly capable of enhancing a multi course dinner.
Craft breweries have been successful in taking away jealously defended market share from Labatt’s, Molson’s and Northern Breweries while in the 1970’s the three were controlling 98 percent of the market, their share dropped to just under 90 percent in 2002. (Canada)
Mainstream beer brewers thought that people can be persuaded to drink “flavour-free” beer by constant in-your-face advertising emphasizing a certain life-style. Well, they were proven wrong.
Most responsible proponents of beer advocate enjoying a bottle or two daily, preferably with a meal, rather than a weekend bash of consuming two- dozen bottles one after the other.
Today, there are craft breweries from coast to coast catering to local, loyal markets. Some are brilliantly brewed and flavoured by young, imaginative brewers looking for taste sensations rather than for a lot of liquid, carbon dioxide and alcohol.
The biggest concentration of small craft breweries is in Quebec and Ontario, although other provinces proportional to their populations show respectable numbers. (Canada)
Delicate foods (sautéed whitefish fillets, fresh water fish), grilled chicken breast or summer salads can be successfully paired with lager beers like Creemore, Neustadt, Steamwhistle, Cameron’s Premium Lager, Millstone Premium Lager, Stone Hammer, King Pilsner, Mc Auslan’s.
Even asparagus goes well with beer, whereas wine and asparagus clash.
Sausages, cold cuts or marinated vegetables will taste better with a dark deeply flavoured lager like Amsterdam, Honey Brown Lager from Muskoka beer, Royal City Lager, Gritstone Premium Lager, Creemore Ur-bock.
For all types of curries well-brewed lager beers (dark or pale) are highly recommended. The same goes for pizza. Needless to say, the reference here is thin-crust appropriately garnished pizza rather than doughy, commercial taste-free concoctions that pass for pizza.
Roasted salted almonds, peanuts or hazelnuts and light beers are matches made in heaven.
Roast pork steaks, beef stews, Mexican food are best matched with ales. Here are some: Mac Lean’s from F and M Brewery, Muskoka Cream Ale, Cameron’s Cream Ale, Amsterdam Cream Ale, Mc Auslan Agassiz Cream Ale.
If you happen to have a tough cut of beef, marinate it with sliced onions, carrots and spices in lager for a few days and see how flavourful and tender it becomes. Similarly, mix flat beer with batter for fish, use in bread dough and in soups to see how wonderfully the humdrum taste changes to something memorable.
Classic Beer Guide
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Article contributed by Hrayr Berberoglu, a Professor Emeritus of Hospitality and Tourism Management specializing in Food and Beverage. Books by H. Berberoglu