Wednesday, March 31, 2010
...but all I found were cigarettes and alcohol.
And for many years, this was the only beer pairing I would entertain. Marlboro Lights and Stella, Guinness and rollies. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
But last night was my first conscious attempt to pair a beer with some food. In order to write this blog with some illusion of beer knowledge, I have been reading Randy Mosher's Tasting Beer. It's a great introduction to beer: well-written and broad in scope, opening lots of possibilities for further reading. Mosher is big on food and beer pairings. Having hit that chapter, and seeing as my wife was making seriously delicious Greek lamb steaks, I decided to select a beer so perfectly partnered to it that it would make our own marriage seem trivial.
However, I didn't have time to go to the beer store. In our fridge was a 12 pack sampler of Central City Brewing's great canned beers and a bottle of Phillip's new Dr. Funk Dunkel. Surely I could find something in that lot.
Mosher is actually somewhat vague on pairings. "Match strength with strength" he says, and offers a taste spectrum diagram that suggests beers that will temper or enhance certain food flavours (e.g. malty beers tame curries while hoppy beers make them more aggressive).
The lamb made me scratch my head. Mosher files it under strong flavoured, but ours was seasoned with lemon and oregano and served with a zesty salad. I could see the Central City Red Racer IPA or Winter Warmer murdering that, yet their white beer would just muddle the zest with its own. I began to wish we'd made peanuts and pork scratchings for dinner.
We went for the Dunkel in the end. Not a bad choice. It's a lager so the body is fairly thin, but it lent a chocolate warmth to the meal. Given the choice I'd have picked something sweeter and fuller, perhaps a dubbel or a brown ale. Dr. Funk had a sour side that jarred a tiny bit, but it would have gone beautifully with a Lucky Strike...