Think of American craft beer and food pairing and what comes to mind….let me guess? Burgers, ribs, sausages and steak? With vegan and vegetarianism on the rise, it’s time to cast aside those meaty overlords and look at how American craft beer can transform vegetables and vegetarian cuisine!
Beer’s flavour spectrum contains a myriad of possibilities that make it the perfect partner for plant-based and veggie dishes. When experimenting with your own ideas remember the golden rule of matching the intensity of the beer (derived from acidity, alcohol, bitterness, carbonation and residual sugars) with the intensity of the food (acidity, bitterness, cooking methods, fat and mouthfeel). Decide whether to create your dish first then chose a beer or base your dish around the beer you want to drink. You can do either.
Remember you can’t change the beer as it is already brewed but you can change the other elements of your pairing. Remember that:
hop bitterness is balanced by the addition of fat, and hops can also enhance spicy notes, roasted malt notes are matched by sweetness, sweet malt notes calm spicy notes and some malt flavours work well with acidity carbonation is intensified by increasing the umami of a dish carbonation also scrubs the palate clean alcohol is balanced on the palate by both sweetness and fat.
Cheese – lighter beer styles go with mild cheese such as goats cheese or brie while big, bold beers go with strong cheese such as stilton and extra mature cheddar, However, the light bitterness and sweet fruity notes of a Belgian-style golden ale such as: https://www.beersofeurope.co.uk/beer/country/usa/spencer-trappist-ale is a heavenly match for most cheeses.