Beer and food pairings are starting to get more interesting

I have not attended a beer and food pairing event in a while, but I’m noticing a sort of resurgence in the number of them being planned by St. Louis area restaurant and breweries, and I’m starting to see that the effort in matching beer with food or food with beer is getting an added shot of creativity and enough creativity that I thought it was time to write about the topic again.

At my first beer and food pairing, it just felt like the pairings were slapped together, and frankly, it did nothing for me. There was no explanation on the pairings, and I am not enough of a foodie to be able to tell you that they were good matches.  At my second, things started to click a bit. The pairing took place on my birthday and was my gift from my wife. The food was from Steve’s Hot Dog’s on Magnolia, and the beer was from Schlafly.  Beer and dogs, how hard could that be? How good could that be?  Well, pretty fricking good.

Troika Brodsky, before leading the St. Louis Brewers Guild, was with Schlafly at the time. He took the time to explain the process they went through in matching up flavors of hotdogs and beer. According to my notes from the event, they started with the beer style first. Certain kinds of beer can balance a food flavor, while others can cut flavors, bring out flavors or enhance flavors.

Here is how some styles can be used with food.

Styles of beer

  • Lagers
  • Pilsners
  • Hefeweizen
  • Wheats

These beers will pair best with lighter foods like salads, seafood and chicken.

  • Pale Ales
  • English bitters

These beers will pair best with mild cheeses or glazed pork

  • Amber ales
  • IPAs

These beers will pair with richer, spicier foods such as curry.

  • Porter
  • Imperial Stouts

These beers will pair with hearty, barbecued meats; and the imperial stout with dark chocolate.

One popular pairing in St. Louis, via some popular festivals, is dry stout and oysters. Although this style of stout is dark in color, it’s lighter in body than other stouts and therefore complementary to this delicate seafood.

So, a rule of thumb – lighter foods go well with lighter beers and heavier beers go better with heavier foods in terms of flavor profile. This ensures that one doesn’t overwhelm the other.

Knowing this helped me understand the focus I needed to put forth, to actually make food and beer pairing work, or in some cases not work, but overall, make them more fun.

So, with that information, here are few interesting pairings coming up. As I see new pairings, I’ll make sure to share that info with you all.

Perennial Golden Arches Beer Dinner
Cellar House 
6039 Telegraph Rd, St. Louis
Wednesday, January 23rd at 7pm.
$60 per person, reservations required. Call (314) 846-5100 to make a reservation.

First Course: “Give me that fish”
Food: Grilled romaine, breaded and fried cod, American cheese croutons, tartar sauce dressing.
Beer: Southside Blonde – Hoppy Blonde Ale

Second Course: “All beef sliders”
Food: Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, sesame seed bun, fries.
Beer: Pils – Dry Hopped Pilsner

Third Course: “FOMM (Fear of Missing McRib)”
Food: Braised pork rib w/ bbq sauce, mustard pickles, crispy onion straws.
Beer: Prism – Dry Hopped Belgian Style Saison

Fourth Course: “Baked Apple”
Food: Apple empanada, caramel sauce, Irish cream ice cream
Beer: Abraxas – Imperial stout with cacao nibs, ancho chiles, vanilla beans & cinnamon

Firestone Walker Beer Dinner
Hopcat St. Louis
6315 Delmar Blvd
Tuesday, January 15th @ 7pm

Welcoming beer is poured at 7pm sharp and seating is first come, first serve.

Welcoming beer: Firestone Lager – 4.5% ABV – American Lager

First Course: Shrimp and Tilapia Ceviche with Fried Corn Tortilla Triangles
Paired w/: Undercurrents – 6.3% ABV – Wild Ale w/ Black Currants

Second Course: Spinach Salad with Pepperoncini, Red Onion, Cucumbers, and Crumbled Feta
Paired w/: Union Jack – 7% ABV – American IPA

Third Course: Lamb Shank served with Mashed Red Potatoes and Seasonal Veggies
Paired w/: Nitro Merlin Milk Stout – 5.5% ABV – Milk Stout

Dessert: Cheddar jalapeno cornbread with honey butter
Paired w/: Anniversary Ale 22 – 12.7% ABV – A blend of Stickee Monkey, Parabola, Bravo, Rum Barrel and Gin Barrel Helldorado