Looking for something to spice up your social life? Try hosting a beer tasting. An evening of tasting a complex array of various beers paired with delicious small plates is an excellent way to gather friends together for an evening of lively conversation and memorable experiences. Beer is a fun beverage and it pairs well with a variety of foods. You don’t have to be a brewer or a professional chef to create a food and beer paired menu that will wow your guest. Create the ultimate beer and food tasting experience with the tips below.
Start with the Beer
The beer should be the main focus of the event. Tasting the beer beforehand may likely spark your culinary creativity when considering the food pairing. When choosing the beer, make a point to taste every beer prior to pairing it with food. The can or bottle will likely describe the beer’s taste and body, but your palette will be a key decider in which foods will pair well with the beer.
Think like a craft brewer or a sommelier when tasting the beers and write down specific qualities of each. Note whether each beer feels like or heavy-bodies, take care to balance initial taste with how the beer finishes – sweet or dry. Focus on the notes of each beer. Do you taste roasted, smoky, citrus, nutty, bitter, spicy, or fruity?
Step up Your Menu with Seasonal Pairings
While a beer and food tasting is always in style, taking an extra step to seek out seasonal pairings can open the door to create a truly extravagant experience. Breweries often put out special seasonal releases that serve as great conversation starters. For example, fall brings about earthy pumpkin and spiced beers, perfect for pairing with rich sausages or cheeses on the heavier side. The holidays bring sweet beers often infused with berries, pairing perfectly with nutty small plates or lavish greens.
Follow the Beer Rainbow
The first rule of thumb when hosting a beer pairing is to start with the lightest beer and slowly move darker. The food paired should balance equally in terms of lightness of fare at the front and heavier, more decadent fare toward the end. A good opener is a light, crisp beer paired with an opener of lightly-spiced, non-fried seafood. The food should ideally become bolder in flavor and more savory as the beers become fuller and more complex.
Take Note of ABV
The food choice should be well-balanced with the alcohol volume of each beer tasting. For example, strong Belgian golden ale would pair better with a small plate of short ribs than a low-calorie dish of steamed mussels.