Insights in Developing a Food-Pairing Menu

Suggesting a​ beer from your portfolio to work with a type of food,​ a style of cuisine, or even a certain dish may not make or break your bottom line, but it can show that you have taken an extra step to care about your consumer and found avenues for them to connect with you in different ways.

But creating that list takes effort, and time.

“It kind of starts with a good discussion and theory,” said Christian McMahan of Wachusett Brewing.

“Once we know we are aligned in what we want to achieve, then it shifts to the ideation and creation of bringing the two worlds together,” added the brewery’s CEO and founder. “It can be very fun and rewarding at the end.”

In almost all cases it’s easiest to start with the beer and look at what dishes may pair well with it, explained Sixpoint‘s Max Finnance, who is the brewery’s in-house Advanced Cicerone and runs Quality and Beer Education for the Brooklyn brewery.

“Any dish in the kitchen comes together much more quickly than a beer from start to finish, so making small adjustments to the dish to better enhance the pairing is simpler than brewing a whole new batch of beer,” he explained.

When looking at pairing, the first move is to match the intensity of the food with the intensity of the beer.

“A very light meal can quickly be overpowered by a very assertive beer, and vice versa, but something rich and flavorful like beef chili will need a substantial beer to stand up to it,” Finnance said.

Outside of cheese, North Coast Brewing Company has not attempted to assemble a food-and-beer pairing guide. The reason, said Brewmaster Chuck Martins, is that the result would never be particularly accurate.

“Some of our beers are very food friendly and it might be fairly safe to make some general recommendations,” he noted, “but many of the beers we produce have complex flavor profiles that require careful attention to create a recipe that will be synergistic with the beer.

“This is likely true of most craft beer being produced today. They aren’t straightforward and it will take some effort to find harmonious food pairings.”

Martins added that possibly the best way that any brewer can steer the customer to a good — or even great — pairing is to find good companions in commercially prepared foodstuffs that will be consistent day in and day out.

“That is what makes beer and cheese pairing a winning proposition,” he said. “A particular cheese from a specific producer is going to be consistent enough throughout the year that a careful pairing will always be successful.”

Joanna Postlethwaite​, a Certified Cicerone and the​ marketing and events coordinator at Thirsty Monk, said education and teamwork are keys in preparing a food-pairing guide.

“Learning the principles of the pairings comes first, and then a lot of tasting and experimenting follows,” she said. “A solid foundation of the concepts of sweet, salty, bitter, sour and umami opens the doors to the fun creative part of building those pairings and bringing tastes together that folks may have never considered.”

1 Trackback / Pingback

  1. Increasing Beer Sales By Developing a Pairing Menu

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.