MCA's Simon Stenning, beer and cider educator Jane Peyton and There's a Beer For That's Neil Gannon, have revealed their top tips ahead of the exclusive beer and cider food pairing panel at the PMA's first Future Trends: Beer and Cider event on 22 June.
Peyton’s top tips:
- Think of cider like you would white wine
- The texture of food is important when it comes to beer pairing
- If in doubt, match the colour of the food with the colour of the beer/cider
For Peyton, thinking of cider as you would wine – colour, flavour, scent – is an easy way to start pairing it with food.
"With cider, think of it as white wine and that helps in matching," she told the PMA. "Consider the acidity, the tannins and depending on the cider, carbonation – they are the tools to use for matching the food.
"Don't feel you have to focus on what would match with the apple flavour."
For beer, the texture of the food – oily, delicacy, etc. – should be considered, she added.
"If in doubt, match the colour of the food with the colour of the cider/beer. It is a guideline that wine drinkers use and it works well with beer and cider too."
Using the colour of the food and beverage as an indicator while pairing is a tip Gannon echoes.
"Match the flavour of the beer to the flavour intensity of the food, eg, light foods such as fish go with lighter beers such as wheat beer or lager," he said.
Tasting the beer and the food before pairing is also a good way to get a match right, as Gannon advises choosing a drink that cuts through, complements or contrasts with the flavour of the food.
"But be open minded, experiment and remember there's no right or wrong answer – if a pairing works for you then it works."
Pairing beer and cider with food is an area that could grow substantially, Stenning pointed out, as consumer interests start to move in favour of the approach.
"The overarching message, through all of our research and data, is that craft beer and cider continue to gain in consumer appreciation and understanding," he said.
Gannon’s top tips:
- Match the flavour intensity of the beer/cider with the food
- Choose drinks that cut through, complement or contrast with the flavours of the food
- Be open-minded and experiment
"As such, there is further scope for operators to provide consumers with cider/beer and food pairings."
Peyton also viewed the skill as good for pubs and added a good menu that has been thoughtfully paired with beer and cider is likely to be a pulling point for customers.
"It's good for business because beer drinkers often have decision-making powers when it comes to choosing a destination for dining," she added.
"Non-beer drinking members of a group will usually defer to the beer drinker and where they are happy with the beer choice. It helps to sell more beer and cider – especially when the staff up-sell and encourage people to have a beer with dessert too."
The Future Trends: Beer and Cider event will take place at the LSO St Luke's, London, on 22 June. For more information visit www.FutureTrendsBeerandCider.co.uk or to book your place contact Joanne Horton by phone 01293 610 403 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.