Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Beer Tasting: Don't forget the food!

Here's a mistake that I make fairly often. And, I'll bet that many of you do too.

I find myself so anxious to have a beer that I overlook the food aspect of beer tasting. This especially happens when I'm trying a beer for the first time. Then, when the tasting doesn't match my expectations, I shrug and say 'Oh well, it wasn't what I expected.'

What I should do first instead is some homework to try and find a cheese, meat, or some other snack that might go well with the beer. I know, I know.....It seems like common knowledge that beer, like wine, can go perfectly together with certain foods. Some of you are probably even rolling your eyes saying, 'what does he know anyway?!' Though, I seem to often forget that when it comes time to sit down with a beer.

I wonder if it happens to you? So, what have I done? Am I taking my own advice? You bet. As a matter of fact, I'm writing this while sampling some Middle Ages Wailing Wench Ale from Syracuse and smoked gouda from Holland. And a bit of fresh-from-the-oven sourdough bread from Wegmans. Thanks to Melissa for the Wench and Joe Sixpack for the gouda suggestion!

In any case, I've attached a few links to follow below for some decent beer/food pairing and recipe thoughts and ideas.


Knut Albert said...

I love cheese with beer - as a rule of thumb strong cheese with hoppy beer. Pistachio nuts also help to get all the flavours out.
In Belgium, you often get some cheese to nibble with your beer - very civilized!

Adam said...

Be careful though ;-)

If you have something too spicy with your beer, you might drink it way too fast. I've done this on more than one occasion. Not a problem if you're drinking Victory Hop Devil, but, if you're drinking Dogfish Head 120 minute there could be a problem.

"Hey, where'd all my beer go?"

Unknown said...

When I'm tasting beer for the purpose of writing tasting notes, I like to try the beer on it's own first. The second and third bottles I'll try to think how I would like to experience the beer as part of a fuller dining experience. In fact I would challenge other beer writers to try a beer under three different circumstance before publishing tasting notes. Pairing the beer with food is not a negligible step.

Adam said...

To "The Angler"...

Interesting thoughts. I would have to say that I'm just not organized enough to try a beer three times and keep track of the notes and then publish them.

I agree that it would decrease the chances of your taste buds being "off". Should ultimately provide a more reliable opinion.

Hmmm...sounds like a good challenge Angler :-)

Bryan Kolesar said...

Adam has a challenge with organization and I think that my challenge is concentration and allocation of time. It's rare that I get 100% "me time" to sit down and actually make it through one beer without either personally distracting myself or being distracted by others. This breaks my concentration and I think affects my writings and reviews.

That's one reason I like the idea of a beer dinner at a restaurant. The structure of the dinner practically forces you to concentrate on the task at hand (oh, I shouldn't say "task" makes it sound too painful!!).

Anyway, thanks Angler for the insightful comments. Very astute thoughts.