If you thought that wine was the only drink that paired well with food, you thought wrong.
One of the things that is synonymous with beer drinking is the food that goes along with it. The ardent beer drinker will know how food becomes as big a deal as the beer on a regular night out.
A beer drinking session is never only that—it’s also a food sampling session. And you’re doing the pairing in your head, whether you know it or not. That’s why you have that favourite dish you like with your beer, and are mildly devastated if it’s not available.
A beer drinking session is never just that—it’s also a food sampling session.
So, why is food pairing a big deal?
Food pairing has become a topic of as much interest as the beer itself, for breweries across the world. It’s important because it helps bring out the flavour of the beer.
What you eat along with your brew can either do wonders in accentuating the beer notes, or if not done right, can kill some of the more subtle flavours. For a brewery, if you’re looking to deliver the perfect beer drinking experience, you’ve got to get the food right.
The standard pairing procedure
There are thousands of breweries across the world creating a variety of complex brews. So there really is no hard and fast rule about what needs to be eaten with a particular beer. But through some testing, or tasting, some foods have been found to naturally compliment different brews.
Lagers are a more easy to drink kind of brew, and go well with greasier, saucier food.
The American style Lagers have a light, crispy mouth feel and tend to have notes of caramel in them. That’s why saucy, oily food like barbecue wings, pizzas, fries go really well, because they can then be washed down with this refreshing brew type.
Lagers go well with greasier, saucier food.
Pilsners tend to be a little more heavy on the hops but have a similar crispy, refreshing finish to them. Flavourful dips and spicy cuisine like Indian food or any Asian cuisine goes really well with this beer type.
Bocks, which have strong malt notes in them, go best with bread and meat combinations like chilli dogs, sausages, pretzels and the works.
The darker lagers, which have fruity notes to them and tend to be mildly sweet go well with heavy meat dishes. It helps bring out the flavour of the meat. They also work well with chocolate, but we have a better pairing suggestion for that!
Ales range from light to very strong, and so a variety of foods can be paired with the many different types. But a broad range can be covered by just considering Pale Ales, Wheat Beer and Stouts.
Pale Ales like the IPA tend to be malty, and heavy on the hops. Cheesy, saucy dishes like sliders, cheeseburgers and just cheese in general go pretty well with this type. The Toit India Pale Ale goes great with some of our roasted meats and the cheese fondue.
Wheat beer tends to be slightly more spicy, and usually has distinctive spice and fruity notes. All flavour rich foods go great with this beer, Asian and Caribbean food in particular. Our in-house Hefeweizen, the Toit Hefeweizen, is best enjoyed with our lemon-butter and garlic sauce grilled fish, or glazed chicken steak, if you’re looking for something meatier. But if it’s finger foods like batter fried prawns, or easy eating like pizzas, Toit Tint-In-Wit the beer for you.
The Colonial Toit goes great with some of our roasted meats and the cheese fondue.
Stouts have a distinctive bitter flavour, sometimes infused with coffee and chocolate notes. Their overall bitter-sweet flavour works perfectly with both heavier, blander foods like meat and also with rich, creamy dessert, especially cheesecakes and anything chocolate based.
That’s why the Nitro Stout works great with anything from the Toit steak to the chocolate cake.
But as with all things experimental, some people go a step forward and end up pairing some rather unusual food with their beers. We dug around and found some strange suggestions people across the world have made.
Some people think that cheesecake with the Rauchbier, which is a smoked German beer, works really well because it ends up adding a smokiness to the dessert as well. And while popcorn seems like a rather tame option, it’s quite unusual to have it with beer as a serious food pairing. But it is said to complement the Porter beer rather well.
Peanut Butter and Jelly with a Brown Ale?
We’ve already mentioned how chocolate goes great with the strong, dark Stout, so that’s not too much of a shocker. But how about Peanut Butter and Jelly with a Brown Ale? It’s signature bitterness is said to be perfectly offset by the sweetness of this combination.
But don’t take our word for it. While these are just suggestions to make your beer drinking experience a little more complete, you should really experiment and figure out your own favourite combination. And then tell us!