What’s better than enjoying a chilled, delicious craft beer, while pairing it with the perfect food?! Read on to find out some craft beer and food pairing advise, to ensure your next marriage of flavors is the perfect one!
Craft beer is a beer made in small batches, much of the process is manual and it’s always made by a passionate brewer aiming to make the best beer that s/he can. It is usually not artificially carbonated or filtered. It is natural and uniquely flavored from the huge variety of hops used in the brewing process.
Craft Beer and Food Pairing Recommendations
As a general rule, the lighter the beer, the lighter the dish. It is a good idea to balance beer with higher levels of bitterness with fat, salt, and sweetness. Serve between 8 – 12 degrees. If beer is served below 8 degrees, some of the flavors and aromas are suppressed.
Barcelona Blonde 5% – 30 IBU
Barcelona Blonde is a pale ale with a malty profile which is balanced with the fruitiness of the Citra and Galena hops used to flavor it, grapefruit notes, in particular, are quite noticeable. As a result, fish and seafood dishes complement this beer. As it has relatively high IBUs (levels of bitterness) it can be paired as a contrast with cheese – gouda works well for example. It works well with ‘fishy’ tapas e.g calamares a la andaluza.
Pa I Roses 4.8% – 20 IBU
Pa I Roses is an American-style wheat beer, a style of beer that is bright, refreshing and not too complicated. It is therefore versatile with food. It is flavored with coriander peel and juice which lend citrus flavors and coriander seed which gives it an inherent savouriness. The citrus flavor enhances and complements light fish such as sole or turbot and salads work particularly well as the beer does not overwhelm the delicate flavors of summer vegetables. There are high levels of carbonation and a fine acidity which contrasts well with cheeses such as brie. The more adventurous should try Mexican dishes to complement this beer as they share the citrus /coriander flavors.
Further Westward IPA 6.3% – 50 IBU
Further Westward is a West Coast India Pale Ale brewed with 6 different hops. It is a strong assertive beer with tropical fruit notes and a flavor bouquet as complex as any wine. It is a beer that can handle strong flavors so foods it won´t be overwhelmed by strong garlic flavor, spices or chillis – Indian, Thai etc. IPA´s were originally brewed in England and sent to British colonists and soldiers in India and had to be robust to stand up to the three-month sea journey as well as the spicy local food! The high IBU levels and consequent bitterness cut through rich creamy sauces beautifully and the carbonation level helps to refresh the palate. Strong oily fish such as salmon or mackerel is best paired with an IPA as the citrus notes complement the fish and the beer won´t be overwhelmed by the strong fish flavors. A good cheese pairing would be a deliciously creamy manchego! The perfect craft beer and food pairing!
La Segadora 7% – 21 IBU
La Segadora is a farmhouse IPA made using saison yeast and packed with hop flavor. The addition of lemon, cinnamon and juniper berries give it a distinctive dry finish and brings to mind (or palate) a dry gin. This beer works well with rich game flavors such as wild boar and with earthy flavors such as rovellons. Served in cava glasses assists its high levels of carbonation which works very well with a bold creamy cheese such as Torta de Caceres, cutting through the fat.
Black Irish 6% – 50 IBU
Black Irish is a dark and malty stout with rich flavor notes of chocolate and coffee and it is surprisingly versatile beer to pair with food. Its high levels of bitterness are softened with foods with high-fat levels, particularly red meat – an entrecote or a quality burger. A dish like a stewed wild boar (Civet de Porc Senglar) works to complement as well as contrast the stout as chocolate is usually added towards the end of cooking and matches the chocolate notes lent by the malt. It is for the same reason that chocolate desserts work so well. Stout is wonderful with mussels, calamari and of course oysters; the brininess acts in stark contrast to the malty, chocolatey beer. It is good at slicing through the ‘fishiness’ of smoked salmon and the smoky flavor of the salmon complements the smokiness of the beer. The perfect Irish craft beer and food pairing!
Flor D’ordal 4.8% ABV
This beer is a pale ale made using fresh fruit. It is brimful of sweet juicy peaches (150kg per brew) picked while in season and used fresh. Some beers of this type rely on fruit concentrates but the fresh peaches add an unmistakable aroma and a sweetness. It contrasts well with the saltiness of Ibérico ham (and other types of charcuterie), complements salads with fresh tomatoes in summer (tomato and mozzarella in particular) and is delicious with a peach dessert – we like baked Ordal peaches with mascarpone. It’s a craft beer and food pairing which is the perfect marriage!
Flor D’ordal Barrica
When we have a batch of Flor d’Ordal ready, we call Mascaró (also in Vilafranca) who arrange to empty 200L brandy barrels in the morning, ready to be collected and filled in the afternoon. It is for that reason that this beer rises in ABV from 4.8% to over 7% and takes on strong brandy flavors. It has a full warm body and marries perfectly with creamy desserts. We like crema catalana or ice cream.
Did you know that IBU means international bitterness unit – the measure of bitterness in a beer? Well if you enjoyed these great craft beer and food pairing ideas, why not check out our blog post on craft beer terms? This brief guide of various craft beer terms, many will give you the confidence to throw yourself into any esoteric debate about beer styles, bitterness levels or hybrids.