The science behind beer and food pairings

Beer isn’t just for nuts and pretzels anymore. You can now find the perfect brew to accompany your favourite food, whether it’s picnic fare or haute cuisine, according to one of the nation’s top brewmasters.

There are even beers that pair well with desserts, says Keith Villa, founder and head brewmaster of Blue Moon Brewing Company, a division of MillerCoors. In a July 18 presentation at IFT16: Where Science Feeds Innovation, hosted by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), Villa offered insight into how to choose a beer to accompany different dishes on the menu.

For instance, a light lager or a bohemian pilsner pairs well with hot dogs and hamburgers, he says, and stouts brewed with dark chocolate complement barbecue, braised beef dishes as well as chocolate and vanilla desserts.

More people today are interested in beer pairings, which is finding the right beer to complement a dish, he says. “When I launched Blue Moon in 1995, beer and food pairings were an anomaly.”
Back then, people talked about matching wines with different foods, but they rarely thought of beer in the same way, he says. Now, “the culinary area has completely evolved to having an acceptance of pairing beer with everything from greasy foods to fine cuisine.”

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