By Lotte Peplow, European Craft Beer Ambassador for the Brewers Association
In the United States, American craft beer occupies an enviable place at the table and is often the drink of choice, whether in restaurants or at home. From the casual bar to the gourmet restaurant, beer is making its presence felt where no grape has gone before.
American craft brewers at the Westminster Kingsway Catering College event. Photographs: Brewers Association
According to a Nielsen survey, 71% of craft beer purchasers in the United States listed “complementing my meal” as a very or somewhat important selection criterion in their choice of beer when at a bar or brewery. Nearly half of craft beer drinkers say they always or often drink beer with food, 63% choose a beer based on what they’re going to eat, and 88% enjoy a beer.
with their meals at least sometimes.
The association of beer and food in the US is much more common than in the UK. Beer’s wide spectrum of flavors makes it an ideal partner for almost any type of food and can elevate both to the next level. The Brewers Association recently came to town to demonstrate it.
Adam Dulye, Executive Chef of the Brewers Association
He hosted an American initiative to combine craft beers and food Westminster Kingsway Restoration College in Victoria, London, targeting students to stimulate the 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 menu paired with beer and food, designed, cooked and served by third-year students under the direction of Brewers Association Executive Chef and renowned beer pairing expert, Adam Dulye.
The map of beer pairings
Heirloom tomato salad, marinated watermelon, wasabi and ginger granita
Paired with Chuckanut Brewery Asian Lager and Paradox Brewery Pilsner, Paradox Brewery
Why it worked: The hops of the pilsners balance the acidity of the tomatoes and temper the fiery power of the wasabi and ginger granita.
Brixam crab cannelloni, mango and chilli salsa
Paired with Coronado Brewing Co Weekend Vibes and DC Brau Joint Resolution
Why it worked: Intense citrus hop notes served the same function as a lemon spritz alongside the crab. The mango and chilli provided both sweetness and warmth which were both balanced by the ‘bite’ of hop bitterness.
Aylesbury duck, roast and confit, potato press, heirloom carrots, veal sauce and blackberries (picture above)
Paired with Virginia Beer Co Baker’s Ordinary Bitter and uslope Brewing Co Kriek
Why it worked: The juicy cherry, wildflower honey and delicate almond flavor of the kriek cut through the richness of the duck breast and caramelized skin, and the roasted carrots mingle with the malts in the bittersweet, while the sweetness from the blackberry sauce pulled every component of the dish and the beers together.
Josper charred pineapple, coconut ice cream and lime meringue
Paired with Maui Brewing Co Pineapple Mana Wheat
Why it worked: It was on a lighter note to finish, with a wheat beer made with Maui Gold pineapple juice, which is only grown in Maui, Hawaii. It is known for its great aroma, high level of sweetness and low acidity. It was a dish where food and beer interacted together in perfect harmony.
If you are 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 their beers to the now annual World Beer Cup in Nashville, Tennessee, next year. Registration opens in November and the beers will be consolidated at the UK center in Hertfordshire before being flown to the United States at the expense of the Brewers Association. Winners will be announced at the Craft Brewers Conference and Brew Expo America on May 10, 2023.
About the Brewers Association
The Brewers Association (BA) is the nonprofit trade association dedicated to America’s small independent brewers, their beers, and the community of brewing enthusiasts.
The BA represents more than 5,700 American breweries. The BA Independent Craft Brewer Seal is a widely adopted symbol that differentiates beers from small independent craft brewers.
The BA organizes events such as 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 United States.
Beer lovers are invited to learn more about the vibrant world of craft beer at CraftBeer.com and on home brewing through the BA’s American Homebrewers Association and the free Brew Guru mobile app.