Beer and Wine Pairing, an Artistic Science

Three spoons with different spices

It’s commonly known that red wine goes well with beef dishes and white wine is a great accompaniment to fish, but chefs today are going far beyond simple pairings of alcohol and food.  A chef might omit a certain ingredient from a dish and complete its flavor profile with a beer. A German Gose beer, with its hint of salt may pair with a dish that has intentionally used less salt or a Pentagram beer, with its sour acidity can complement a sweet dish.

Wines should be paired to match the weight and texture of the food—a heavy, red sauce pasta with a heavy Cabernet Sauvignon, for instance.  Fatty foods should be paired with wines that have higher tannin content. With dishes that use a sauce, pair the wine to the sauce. Sweet dishes should be paired with sweet wines; acidic dishes with acidic wines; spicy foods with sweet wines and salty foods with wines with high acidity.

An integral component to the art of pairing alcohol with food is storytelling.  Food is plated with its presentation in mind. By weaving the food together with the drink—who grows the ingredients, how they are sourced and cooked with how the beer is brewed or the wine is aged.  This alerts the diner to what they should be experiencing by giving them an understanding of why the beer or wine was chosen to complement the dish.

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