The fall season is upon us and it’s the perfect time for gathering with food, family, friends, and fun. It also means enjoying a beer that reflects the season we’re in – crisper, darker, and maltier. Pairing your fall foods with your fall beers takes the entire experience to a new level, complementing or contrasting the flavors for a complete dining experience.
How to pair your food with your beer
Beers have different characteristics and flavor profiles that interact with the flavors of certain foods. This knowledge helps to direct the food choices to have with beer.
- Body – When pairing, you have to consider the body of the beer in comparison to the food you’re having. Is the beer light or more full and rich? Light-bodied beers go well with lighter meals like a salad or light wings, while full-bodied beers pair better with richer meals.
- Aroma and bitterness – Beers with high levels of bitterness bring out the spiciness in meals. In contrast, beers with rich hop aromas go really well with acidic foods.
- Maltiness – Most people enjoy a really good malty beer. These pair well with roasted meals that will enhance the malty flavor of the beer. They also complement chocolate desserts really well, as they balance the bitterness and sweetness in the food.
Common Fall foods and their beer pairings
- Oktoberfest beers – If you’re a beer drinker, you’ve most likely heard of Oktoberfest, which this festival originated in Munich. Here in the US, we have our own set of Oktoberfest beers. These beers typically have the flavor profile of a Märzen beer, which is malty, dry, full-bodied, and has a tinge of spice. Fall flavors are full of foods with lots of spices, so these beers go well with the season.The flavors of these beers pair well with foods that have similar flavor profiles – hearty and spicy. This includes those juicy red meats like pork and beef. Whether you choose to have it fried, grilled, or roasted, pairing it with an Oktoberfest beer will certainly elevate your enjoyment of the meal.
- Stouts – If you enjoy the creamy, rich, toasty, malty flavors of stouts, then it’s also likely that you enjoy foods that resemble these flavors. Stouts pair well with a variety of foods, including roasted foods, smoked foods, barbecued/grilled foods, stews, braised dishes, and salty foods.They also pair really well with chocolates that play off the malty flavor of the beer and desserts. If you’re going to be having your beer with a dessert, ensure the beer is a bit sweeter than the dish.
- Porters – Porter beer originated in London during the 1700s. Similarly, to stouts, porter beers are also of a flavor profile that is malty, dark, and rich. However, there are some differences between the two beers. Stouts are strong, highly roasted, dark, and bitter, while porters are not as strong but tend to be maltier than stouts.Porter beer and stouts pair well with similar foods – Smoked, barbecue, rich stews, braised dishes, and red meats. They also go really well with smoked chicken and beef.
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