Beer and food matching: Ale and hearty

Related tags London brewer fuller Beer

THERE ARE those - admittedly, mostly working for the Daily Mail - who would argue that giving a group of students a selection of beers and a free...

THERE ARE those - admittedly, mostly working for the Daily Mail​ - who would argue that giving a group of students a selection of beers and a free hand would be irresponsible.

Rather than a recipe for carnage, however, this approach turned out to be the formula for an enjoyable night out. London brewer Fuller's supported a beer and food matching evening at Highbury College in Portsmouth earlier this month.

Students on the hospitality courses at the college, both trainee chefs and those developing front-of-house skills, regularly practise their craft on paying customers at Chimes, the college restaurant in Portsmouth city centre.

However, the beer and food challenge issued by Fuller's was something of a departure. Most chef training tends to focus on matching food with wine - something many brewers are working to address.

As John Keeling, Fuller's head brewer, told assembled guests: "We're not looking to replace wine, just arguing that beer deserves its place on the dinner table as well.

"Beer has a much wider range of flavours than wine, so there's much more opportunity to complement and contrast with food. What works to your taste might not work for mine, but it's interesting to find out."

While John kept the guests entertained and informed as each of the nine tasting courses was produced, a team led by Fuller's catering development manager Tim Barnes was working with the students.

"The dishes and matches were all created by the Highbury students," said Tim. "We were there to advise them, and to make sure they all had a chance to work with an experienced chef as they moved around the kitchen."

Martin Tarbuck, head of hospitality and catering at Highbury, said: "By hosting special evenings we provide the students with an opportunity to work with companies such as Fuller's, learning to cook in a different way. The students also experienced using different and unusual ingredients and this provided them with different skill sets."

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