Oktoberfest-Inspired Beer Pairingsby Patricia Noonan
published October 04, 2012
Beer + foods to match
While some of us stick to beer when the spring and summer sun shines, it’s actually fun to pair beer to a variety of foods all year round. With the classic German-inspired beer festival of Oktoberfest coming up, we celebrate this autumn with beer. Below, tips on how to properly pair, and a few offerings to enjoy this fall.
How to pair
There are numerous styles, like classic lagers, ales, stouts and seasonal craft beers, as well as Belgian specialty beers. So how is beer pairing done with so many different products to choose from? It’s always good to follow the simple wine-food pairing principle. Lighter style beers will enhance lighter dining fare, from seafood, chicken, salads, casseroles and lightly sauced pasta dishes. Heavier ales with a richer malt flavor will pair best with red meats and even game-based dishes. If choosing extremely dark and heavy beers like stouts and porters, you can enjoy them on their own, with robust fare or even after a meal with a dessert. Basically, the greater the intensity of cooking the food undergoes, the heavier the beer that can be served with it.
4 essential bottles
Stella Artois Lager
Stella Artois is a crisp, dry, slightly bitter European lager with a refreshing finish. This makes it an ideal accompaniment for a variety of cuisines from around the world. The mild malt and light hoppy flavour accentuates the richness of dishes such as lamb, lobster and shellfish without overwhelming the balance of flavours.
Innis & Gunn Oak Aged Beer
Ales show more body and malty, fruity sweetness, so they tend to complement foods that are roasted, broiled or barbecued. From a traditional pork roast to a classic chicken or turkey roast, these allow for ales or lagers that make use of darker roasted malt. In fact, with Thanksgiving around the corner, a fun change to the traditional turkey dinner might be doing beer can roasted turkey paired with dark ales!
Guinness Extra Stout
Guinness is the world famed ‘stout’ or porter style of beer, and the main thing to know is that with dark brews, aim for pairings using red meats with long slow cooking processes, like stewing and braising. The malty, caramel flavours of the beer complement these cooking styles, especially with rich, dark sauces.
Nightmare On Mill Street Pumpkin Ale
This craft wheat beer is made with pureed pumpkin, baking spices and vanilla extract. It’s a great match with pumpkin pie or a spiced honey cake!
Not sure what type of beer to serve with your meal? Here’s a good rule of thumb to follow: the lighter the cooking, the lighter the beer. The more roasted the food, the more roasted the malt (in other words, go with a darker ale).