In last week’s article we talked about how beer can go incredibly well with almost every type of food, even looking at different beer styles that can go nicely with the cuisine of various Asian countries.
This week we are looking westward to the different cuisines of both Europe and America, which can be found here in Thailand. In fact, it is in many of these restaurants, or restaurants that serve this kind of food, that you will find the greatest concentration of craft beers.
Ok, so American Food what exactly is that? Well when many people think of American food the idea of hamburgers, hot dogs, steak, pizza and poutine (well for Canadian’s anyways) comes to mind. Here are some good beers that go well with many American dishes:
- Stouts or Porters like Deschutes Black Butte Porter
- American Lagers like Norrebro New York Lager
- Pale Ales like Tuatara Aotearoa Pale Ale
- IPAs like Brewdog Hardcore IPA
American food really is one of the rare cuisines that will go well with almost every style of beer. Go ahead and be a little adventurous next time you order a regular old hamburger! I had some vanilla stout that had been aged in Jim Beam Bourbon casks for 6 months with a burger a while back and the pair were just stellar together!
Ok, so the UK isn’t widely known as culinary powerhouse for food but there are a number of pubs here turning out some fantastic pub food. British food found here will pair nicely with:
- Stouts like Guinness
- Bitter Ale like Fuller’s London Pride
- Pale Ale like Brewdog’s Dead Pony Club
- Belgian Ale like Blanche de Namur
A good pub meal with a hearty pint of Guinness can go a long way in setting things right with the world.
Ok, so European food is about the same as saying Asian food, and most would not dare to group Italian food with French and heaven forbid German! Here in Thailand that’s exactly what happens at many restaurants, and hey, it works. That being said, we will break this one into two parts:
Beers to combine with Northern European Cuisine
Ok, so it’s not normal to split Europe this way, but hey you have to make the split somehow. When we say Northern European we mean the Scandinavian countries, Germany and even Russia. Food that tends to be on the heavier side with starch like potatoes and meat featuring heavily in many dishes. Beer is more often than not the main drink partnered with this cuisine, many popular types include:
- European Lagers like Heineken
- Dark wheat beers like Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier Dunkel
- Belgian Blonde Ales like Petrus Blond
- Belgian Dubbels like Waterloo Double
Beers with Southern European food
By Southern European food, we mean food from the large wine producing countries of Italy, France and Spain. These cuisines are usually the domain of wine – ask an Italian to suggest a beer to go with your pasta and you may just be shown the door. Never the less, there are some excellent beers that go with these cuisines. We have noticed that the three main romance languages and their cuisine are well represented here in Thailand, so we have split the cuisines up a bit.
Italian food is generally known to be robust, hearty and yet carry delicate flavors that tend to play off of one another. Therefore, you should try beer styles like:
- American Pale Lager like Yo-Ho Brewing’s Yona Yona Ale
- German Helles or Maibock like Paulaner Original Munchner Helles
- Light to Pale Lager like Menabrea 1846
- Marzen like Birra Roma Ambrata
A cool tip would be to think about the food that you will be eating and what wine would generally go well with it. If someone recommends a strong wine like a Brunello, then go for a stronger flavored beer.
French food can be tricky to pair with beer, especially because much of the food goes so well with an individual wine. That being said, it’s not impossible, and beers like the following will go well with most French dishes.
- Belgian Pale Ale like Palm
- India Pale Ale like Nogne O India Pale Ale
- Amber Ale like Brewdog 5am Saint
- Normandy Style Cider like Aspall Cyder Organic
As with Italian food, try to look at what wine is recommended for the dish and pick a style of beer that offers similar tastes. For example Pinot Noir is a lighter wine, so if it is recommended, pick a lighter style of beer.
Spanish food can be sublime, especially when you pair it with wine from the various vineyards around the country. And, much like the other two countries, it is usually the favored drink to go with dinner. That being said, you can also pair beer styles like the ones below.
- Marzen beer like Voll Damm
- Pale Lager like A.K. Damn
- Pale Ale like Coopers Original Pale Ale
- Belgian Wit beer like Norrebro Bryghus Stuykman Wit
Spain, like many other countries in Europe is seeing a boom of brewers in the country offering top-quality craft beers that not only represent the country but also the food.
Do I have to combine a specific type of beer with a cuisine?
To be honest, when it comes to pairing food with beer or wine many experts and snobs alike will insist that one type of beer is perfect for one dish. While it is true that many beers will taste better with certain dishes than others, you likely won’t enjoy it if you don’t like the style of beer.
For example if you can’t stand IPAs, yet are ordering a spicy curry and decide to try an IPA with the curry because they generally go well together, there is a high chance that you still won’t like it.
So, when people ask me “what type of beer (or wine) should I drink with X” I generally tell them to pick something they like, but will encourage them to try something else that is similar. After all, this should be about finding new beers that you like!
Wish of the week
Everything on this week’s article
Much like last week’s article, you can find all of these beers on our site. Go ahead, order a new type of beer and try it with different types of food to see how you think it pairs together.