You had the decapitated mannequin in the front yard. The spooky lighting was lit. The creepy sound effects record from the 1960s was blaring from the turntable. You were set to scare the heck out of some unsuspecting trick-or-treaters and then reward their fearlessness with a bounty of sugary treats. The only problem was, not many kids showed up. Now what? You're stuck with buckets and bags full of candy. Might as well throw a party and serve all that candy with beer.
'Beer Pairings' on Serious Eats
A well-made brown ale is a symphony of toffee, nuts, and toast. It's the ideal partner for fall foods, when meals start to take on a little more heft; not quite the hearty comfort food of winter, but also not the corn salads of summer.
Pumpkin beers are simultaneously the most beloved and most reviled concoctions in the pantheon of seasonal brews. But pumpkin beer can be an ideal pairing for some of our favorite autumn meals. Read on for a few suggestions.
With the release of seasonal beers being pushed ever earlier on the calendar, mid-August usually marks the appearance of Oktoberfest on the shelves. I even saw one in mid-July this year. While some will grouse about this seasonal-creep, I don't mind so much. I would gladly drink Oktoberfest beers all year long. Here are a few dishes I like to cook up when I've got Märzenbier on hand.
The best beers for cheese puffs, barbecue potato chips, Cool Ranch Doritos, and more.
Riddle me this. What beer style manages stratospheric alcohol content while simultaneously remaining fresh enough for summer sipping? Belgian tripel, that's what. This unique combination of strength and drinkability makes tripels fantastic with food.
It's hot! I don't want to sound like I'm whining, but really, it's hot. Even here in chilly Minnesota this season has been one for the record books. I think I need a beer; something crisp, light, lively and refreshing. Saison is the perfect choice.
Independence Day is the ultimate cookout day; family and friends gathered in the backyard, food, fun, and fireworks. Plus, the day wouldn't be complete without a cold brew (or three) to wash down all that grilled meat. Here are a few pointers to help you make the most of your patriotic pairings.
St. Patty's Day is here again. This holiday perhaps more than any other—particularly the religious ones—is associated with drinking beer. It's a suds-fueled release of energies pent-up during Lent's long days of denial. Another important part of this Saint's day celebration is the adoption of certain "traditionally Irish" foods. Sounds to me like the perfect excuse to create some tasty beer and food pairings.
Beer and cheese have a natural affinity. In fact, they are almost the same thing. Both start with grass; barley and wheat in the case of beer, and actual grass in the case of cheese. Putting together a beer and cheese tasting is as easy as assembling an assortment of cheeses of different textures and types and choosing a bevy of beers to go with them. Here are a few suggestions to get you started.
Beers that are too heavy or too hoppy will fill you up and fry your palate. Here are a few recommended beers to sip with your favorite Super Bowl snacks.
Pairing beer to fried chicken is all about finding balance. Despite its greasy reputation, well-prepared fried chicken displays a delicate interplay of juicy, flavorful meat and toasty, crunchy crust. The beer you choose should speak to both without overpowering either. The aggressively bitter, citrusy punch of IPAs and pale ales throw the balance out of whack. The fruity and spicy yeast flavors of weissbiers and many Belgian beers can clash with fried chicken's crusty crunch.
Tangy tomato dishes can be tricky to pair with wine. Acids and tannins in the vino can amplify the acidity of the tomatoes to create harshly astringent offspring. But beer offers several tasty avenues to tame the tomato—malt to match the sweetness, yeasty notes to balance the tang, and hops and carbonation to wipe the palate clean.
When pairing beers with sushi one might first be tempted to deal with that sinus-clearing wasabi. But many of sushi's main constituents are big umami providers, including soy sauce, seaweed, and of course raw fish. The best pairings enhance these flavors, in turn toning down the horseradishy heat of any wasabi.
When you think about drinks to serve at brunch, you may first consider mimosas or bellinis, but a mid-morning beer may actually be a better pairing for brunch food.
Sauteed chicken with rosemary and garlic: it's an elegant but unpretentious dish that's packed with great farmhouse flavors. It calls for beer with equally complex flavors in a similarly simple package; beer that shares its earthy, herbal character without coming off too heavy. Fresh and funky French and Belgian farmhouse ales deliver on all counts.
Corned beef and cabbage is best with lighter-flavored beers so it won't be overpowered. Dry Irish stouts are a great place to start, but my favorite pick is a red ale from Dublin with subtle caramel flavors and moderate bitterness.
There are plenty of wonderful wine options to serve at Thanksgiving, but I think you should also consider beverages outside the vinuous world: namely, craft beer. Malty beer resonates beautifully with a roast turkey and the crispy top of herbed dressing. It can be an awesome pairing with pretty much everything you serve on Turkey Day from nuts to salad, potatoes, turkey, cranberries and pie. Here are a few of my top Thanksgiving beer picks.
Greg Hall of Goose Island Beer Company makes beers that are delicious on their own and even more brilliant with food. We caught up with him to chat about his exciting new sour beer releases, his favorite beer-and-food pairings, and his thoughts on where craft beer is heading.
Just because a certain beer is often sold in Chinese restaurants doesn't mean it's actually the right pairing for Chinese food. Our goal was to find beers that truly complemented the flavors of each dish and were complemented by those dishes in return. We tried a number of excellent beers in search of the perfect matches for our favorite spicy dishes, as well as a few classics of the Americanized Chinese variety.