I think, and consequently write, a lot about wine and wine and food pairings. A day rarely goes by when I don’t have at least a cursory thought on the subject.
Recently, though, thanks to chats with friends at Bier Station and KC Bier Company, my mind has been contemplating beer and food pairings.
I like Craftbeer.com’s breakdown of today’s suds, which puts malted beverages into six categories: crisp & clean; malty & sweet; hoppy & bitter; fruity & spicy; sour, tart & funky; and dark & roasty. Here’s a brief primer on where your favorite brews fall:
▪ Crisp and clean — think lagers and pilsners.
▪ Malty and sweet — beers like brown ales and hefeweizens
▪ Fruity and spicy — Belgium-style saisons, among others
▪ Hoppy and bitter — American pale and brown ales and India pale ales
▪ Sour, tart, and funky — As the name suggests, all sours fall into this category
▪ Dark and roasty — Stouts, porters and all of those holiday and Christmas special brews
So, what type of food brings out the best in these beers and vice versa?
For some insight, I went to the source of perhaps the largest collection of craft beers in the metro, Bier Station, and Jacob Kruger who mans the kitchen there.
Kruger says he’s learning on the job every day, exploring new beers and new food and beer pairings. It started, interestingly enough, with a beer and Girl Scout cookie pairing a few years ago.
“I’d never thought of anything like that, but the Thin Mints were great with porters,” Kruger said.
Kruger says he enjoys cheese and beer matching in particular, noting that “stinky” cheeses seem to fit perfectly with sours. Kruger says most of his cuisine and beer pairings come down to trial and error, though