In Dublin and also Bray where I live, there are more places now than ever, where you can get great beer and food too. Whelehan’s wines, Hollands of Bray, any of the Galway Bay pubs, to name a few. As I venture to advocate beer and food pairing in Ireland, I also want to give you some ideas to try at home. My last post was “The Beer Float”, for this one I want to give pairings with both the matching and contrasting approaches to complementing food, 2 for 1 here.
Beer & food #2. Pancakes with bacon and maple syrup.
A dish that has contrast in itself of salt and sweet that works so well. I have tried a few combinations with this one (it’s my favourite breakfast) and I think I’ve discovered the ultimate pairing. A Belgian tripel; this beer style which uses cane sugar to crank up the alcohol making it sweet but maintaining light - medium body with good carbonation. Belgium is the home of waffles, similar to pancakes which may have influenced me but the tripel which I suggest comes from the Netherlands and is called Hertog Jan. It has a nose of almonds and warm pastry dough followed by a blitzing taste of dried fruits with a smooth touch of caramel. A bready mouthfeel in this beer complements fluffy pancakes and the flavours naturally work together as the beer washes the sweet and saltiness down. Another option that I am curious to test would be the Cherry and apricot sour ale by Dotbrew.
Beer & food #3. Salads.
They can be tricky for pairing because they’re so light but can have strong flavours and textures from various dressings and fruit/veg/nuts/cheese/meat bits added in. Seeing strawberries and other berries being added into salads lately inspired me to try pairing the Strawberry sour beer by S. Lambert & sons with a salad. It really worked, the fizz and sourness counteracted the cheese in the salad, strawberries actually go well with the creaminess of some cheeses (opposites attract in this case). Also the tanginess of the cheese and vinaigrette dressing was matched by the bitterness in the beer while the bubbles cleansed the palate nice ‘n fresh. I reckon that other sour beers could pair too and even for classic salads such as caprese or a Greek.
I’m interested in what you think goes well with your favourite beers, whether or not you like these pairings that I have mentioned so feel free to comment below.