By Lotte Peplow, European craft beer ambassador for the Brewers Association
In the States, American craft beer has an enviable place at the dinner table and is often the beverage of choice whether eating out or at home. From the casual bar to the fine-dining restaurant, beer is making its presence felt where no grape has gone before.
US craft brewers at the Westminster Kingsway Catering College event. Photographs: Brewers Association
According to a Nielsen survey, 71% of craft beer purchases in the States gave ‘complements my meal’ as a very or somewhat important selection criteria in their beer choice when at a bar or brewpub. Nearly half of craft beer drinkers say they drink beer with food always or often, 63% select beer based on what they’re going to eat, and 88% enjoy a beer
with their meal at least sometimes.
Pairing beer with food in the States is far more prevalent than in the UK. Beer’s wide flavour spectrum makes it an ideal partner for almost any type of food and can elevate both to a higher level. The Brewers Association recently rolled into town to demonstrate just that.
Adam Dulye, the Brewers Association’s executive chef
It hosted an American craft beer and food pairing initiative at Westminster Kingsway Catering College in Victoria, London, targeting students to stimulate understanding and trial of American craft beer and food pairings at an early stage in their careers, and arm them with knowledge and experience to use in the professional kitchen.
The event consisted of a four-course beer and food paired menu, devised, cooked, and served by third year students under the leadership of the Brewers Association’s executive chef and renowned beer pairing expert, Adam Dulye.
The beer-pairing menu
Salad of Heirloom tomatoes, pickled watermelon, wasabi, and ginger granita
Paired with Chuckanut Brewery Asian Lager and Paradox Brewery Pilsner, Paradox Brewery
Why it worked: Hops in the pilsners balanced the acidity of the tomatoes and tempered the fiery power of the wasabi and ginger granita.
Cannelloni of Brixam crab, mango, and chilli salsa
Paired with Coronado Brewing Co Weekend Vibes and DC Brau Joint Resolution
Why it worked: Intense citrus hop notes performed the same function as a spritz of lemon alongside the crab. Mango and chilli provided both sweetness and heat which were both balanced by the ‘bite’ of the hop bitterness.
Aylesbury duck, roast and confit, potato press, heritage carrots, veal and blackberry sauce (pictured above)
Paired with Virginia Beer Co Baker’s Ordinary Bitter and uslope Brewing Co Kriek
Why it worked: The kriek’s juicy cherry, wildflower honey, and delicate almond flavour cut through the richness of the duck breast and caramelised skin, and roasted carrots melded with the malts in the bitter, while the sweetness of the blackberry sauce pulled every component of the dish and the beers together.
Josper charred pineapple, coconut ice, and lime meringue
Paired with Maui Brewing Co Pineapple Mana Wheat
Why it worked: This was a lighter note to finish on, featuring a wheat beer made with Maui gold pineapple juice, which is only grown in Maui, Hawaii. It is known for its big aroma, high level of sweetness, and low acidity. This was a dish where the food and the beer interacted together in perfect harmony.
If you’re experimenting with beer pairings at home, the best advice is to taste, taste, taste! And remember, taste is personal, so pair what works for you and have fun doing it.
• UK brewers are invited to submit beers to the now annual World Beer Cup in Nashville, Tennessee, next year. Registration opens in November and beers will be consolidated at the UK hub in Hertfordshire before being air-freighted to the USA at the Brewers Association’ s expense. Winners will be announced at the Craft Brewers Conference and Brew Expo America on 10th May, 2023.
About the Brewers Association
The Brewers Association (BA) is the not-for-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent American brewers, their beers and the community of brewing enthusiasts.
The BA represents 5,700-plus US breweries. The BA’s independent craft brewer seal is a widely adopted symbol that differentiates beers by small and independent craft brewers.
The BA organises events including the World Beer Cup, Great American Beer Festival, Craft Brewers Conference and BrewExpo America, SAVOR: An American Craft Beer and Food Experience, Homebrew Con, National Homebrew Competition and American Craft Beer Week.
The BA publishes The New Brewer magazine, and Brewers Publications is the largest publisher of brewing literature in the US.
Beer lovers are invited to learn more about the dynamic world of craft beer at CraftBeer.com and about homebrewing via the BA’s American Homebrewers Association and the free Brew Guru mobile app.