A Classic Combination
Not that anyone needs a reason to crack open a cold one after a long hard day, but with National Beer Day on the 4th August, it would be criminal not to. Harry Potter has his Butter Beer and Homer has his can of Duff. However, if you find yourself reaching for the same beer time and time again, maybe you’re missing a trick? Here are some thoughts on how beer and meat can deliciously complement each other.
Mixing two of the best things around – beer and meat – can hardly go wrong, but it’s a good idea to be aware of some general recommendations to get the most out of your food and drink. Indeed, both beer and meat are historic favourites. Beer was invented at the same time, if not earlier, than bread, and it is adored just as much, if not more. With Egyptian Pharaohs having been buried beside jars filled with the tasty brew, there are few worthier companions for our fantastic meats.
Our modern consumption of beer was kickstarted by the Industrial Revolution. Beer went global, turning into a 20th-century everyday staple. Today, beer is the third most widely consumed drink, second only to water and tea. Although the joy of beer cannot be confined merely to social outings, beer has a great power to bring people together. Even back in the Middle Ages, beer was a symbol of friendship and community. Of course, pubs are close to all of our hearts and are one of the things that Brits do best.
So, how do we begin to pair beer with meat? Look out for tastes of sweetness or bitterness. In mild beers you will notice a delicate, crisp and refreshing taste. Bolder beers are robust and hearty. Malty beers have a toasted feel, with notes of caramel, butter, and coffee, while hoppy beers are herbal, spicy, earthy, and floral. Aside from taste, enjoy the body of the beer, the type of carbonation and the aftertaste, as this will differ with each brew.
Then there are some straight-forward rules you could follow. For example, when matching beer with beef, the intensity of the drink should match with that of the dish. Heavier, more complex recipes require heavier beers, and vice-versa. You can also marinade your beef with your chosen beer to further enhance the pairing.
In general, the hoppier a beer, the better match it is for rich foods. You can also look out for complementary flavours. Citrus with citrus, sweet with sweet, spice with spice, etc. Alternatively, you can pair salty sweet together which can often be a winning combination.
Here are some specific combos we are recommending this week:
Flat Iron Steak and pair it with a sweet malty lager. Notes of caramel and sweetness in the lager can amplify the Flat Iron’s natural honeyed umami, cutting through its savoury fattiness to refresh the palate. It’s a mouth-wateringly good combination – trust us!
If you fancy a different kind of steak, try our beautiful Rib Eye cut. We are recommending a pairing with an Imperial stout. This boldest steak deserves an equally bold beverage. Imperial stouts have a unique natural oaky tannin similar to those in red wine. The intensity of Imperial Stout matches the Rib Eye’s super buttery, ultra-rich flavour. Try it with the Vocation Naughty and Nice Imperial Stout.
Chicken & Apple Sausages call for a very different beer pairing. Contrasting the flavour of these sweet sausages with a crisp, effervescent pilsner. This will have a great palate-cleansing effect. A pilsner such as Staropramen would be an ideal match.