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A pint wearing headphones, the logo for the Ontario Brewer Podcast

Beer and Food Pairing

Posted July 26, 2012 | 10:00 am, by Mirella

If there’s one thing that I might enjoy more than a straight beer tasting, it’s an opportunity to explore beer and food pairing. This year I’ve had the pleasure of working with two different chefs as part of the 2011-2012 season of the Ontario Brewer Podcast, pairing local craft beer with a range of foods. It’s been a delightful experience.

Why Beer and Food Pairing is Fun

Here are my two favourite things about food pairing:

  • beer and food pairing at a recording of the Ontario Brewer PodcastEven though there are a number of rules and guidelines that you can follow when devising a beer and food pairing, the ultimate test is always tasting the beer and food together. Sometimes, the most unexpected combinations will pair wonderfully.
  • Everyone’s palate, food preferences and experience is different. This is something that was really highlighted for me while recording these podcasts because Chef Matt Kantor and Chef Howard Dubrovsky both came up with pairings that were completely different from what I might have chosen and I learned a lot from listening to the reasoning behind their pairings. One example that comes to mind is the May podcast, in which Kimchi Stew is paired with Old Credit Holiday Honey. When choosing a food pairing for the Holiday Honey, I would have opted for a more delicate food but Chef Dubrovsky’s approach was to explore contrast and it worked wonderfully. Another great example was in the November Podcast, when Chef Kantor paired the Great Lakes Winter Ale, which I’ve only ever had with dessert, with a salad made from Squash, Mushrooms, Hazelnuts and Oregano. Yum! (Both podcasts are included below)

Because of these two things, my main advice for someone who would like to experiment with beer and food pairing would be this: Have fun & try as many combinations as you can. Buy three completely different beers and try them with the same dish to see which one YOU prefer. 

Oh, and if you’re looking for specific beer and food pairing ideas, feel free to download a copy of the food pairing suggestions I offered for the Canada Day issue of Maclean’s or listen to our food pairing podcasts and taste along! There are ten available and we still have two more months to go…

May Podcast: May Podcast

November Podcast: November Podcast

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