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Contrary to popular belief, wine is not the only beverage that can be paired fantastically with food. Beer fans, if you haven’t already, it’s time to get in on the action too!
During this year’s London Beer City, we were lucky enough to attend one event hosted by the Brewers’ Association at Club Gascon, demonstrating how to match craft beer with fine dining for a delicious result.
As a general rule: start light and progress to darker, richer beers. Begin with refreshing, crisp wheat beers and pale ales, progressing to lagers and brown ales of matched intensity to your dish, finishing with full-flavoured stouts or porters to balance the sweetness of dessert.
Not only were they paired perfectly with food in this meal, but the beers were also matched to their uniquely designed glassware from Spiegelau, for maximum enhancement of the taste, aroma and appearance. Delicious!
For the first course, starting light with fish and wheat ale: Bells Brewery Oarsman (4.0%) in the Wheat Beer Glass, paired with Gillardeau oysters, apple crush, seaweed tartare and black tea tuile.
Second course was a silky duck flan, ginger and hay jus, served with two complimentary pale ales in the Spiegelau Pilsner Glass.
The first match was a crisp Deschutes Brewery, Mirror Pond Pale Ale (5%).
Followed by a light Boulder Beer Hazed and Infused American Pale Ale (4.8%).
A third course of capuccino of black pudding, lobster and asparagus was paired with two IPAs in the unique Spiegelau IPA glass.
First pour was Founders Centennial (7.2%), below, and second pour was Lagunitas (6.2%).
Fourth course was gorgeous wood pigeon, orange, barigoule and glazed kumquat. Here we see a transition before dessert to stronger tastes with darker beers.
First pour was Stevens Point Amber Lager (4.7%) in the Spiegelau Lager Glass.
Second pour was Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale (6.7%) in a Spiegelau Tulip Glass: a darker beer in preparation for the rich and full-flavoured dessert stouts and porters.
For dessert: The Millionaire, coffee, pink praline and frosted Worcestershire ice cream. As you can guess, very chocolatey and rich to match the beers.
First pour was North Coast Old Rasputin Imperial Stout (9%) in a Spiegelau Stout Glass, below. Finishing with a Heretic Chocolate Hazelnut Porter (7%) in a Spiegelau Tulip Glass.
Aaaand then lay down and nap in a delicious food coma.
This epic meal is only one example of craft beer and fine dining complimenting each other just as well as fine food and wine. Yet, similarly to wine, beer can be matched with all sorts of other food too, not just fine dining. Here’s a great little guide from the Brewer’s Association to matching all kinds of meals, meats, cheeses, and desserts with beer.
Want your own specialised Spiegelau glassware to enhance your beer? Take a look here.