Whether you're planning a Mexican-inspired Thanksgiving or forget the turkey altogether (milk-braised pork roast, perhaps?) this holiday season, hit all the marks of a fantastic meal with great beer and food pairings. —INGRAIN, Fall/Winter 2019
START WITH INTENSITY
Hop-forward beers like Goose IPA or Next Coast IPA with their bitterness and dryness can stand up to more intense flavors and creamy sauces. A big, malty beer like Bourbon County Brand Stout pairs nicely with equally big, rich desserts. A light and bright lager like Natural Villain sings with a less intense dish like seafood or poultry.
Beer relies on its carbonation, bitterness, and tannic astringency to clean the palate. For instance, a beer brewed with wheat, like Sofie or 312 Urban Wheat, works nicely with brunch dishes like eggs Benedict because the bubbles clean the creamy viscosity of the eggs and hollandaise from the palate–not to mention the complementing citrus flavors.
FIND PARALLEL TRAITS
Looking for common flavor characteristics between any food and beverage is one of the most reliable places to begin thinking about pairings. The bold qualities of an IPA play off equally big flavors like blue cheese, bacon-wrapped dates, or a spice-rubbed roasted turkey. Bring it on.
DON'T GO CRAZY
Avoid the temptation to go overboard when relying on common traits for a pairing. A malty, sweet beer can be overwhelmed by a very sweet dessert. When tasted together, it becomes difficult for the palate to pick up the subtle characteristics in both the beer and food.
Yes, it really can be that easy. Jump right in. What are you waiting for? Some pairings will be ethereal and some probably won't work, which means you're doing something right.
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