GBBF 2016

Beer and food matching at the Great British Beer Festival gathers crowds

By Sara Hussein

- Last updated on GMT

Match made in heaven: food that complements GBBF beers
Match made in heaven: food that complements GBBF beers

Related tags Beer festival British beer festival Great british beer Great british beer festival Sausage Beer

CAMRA’s Great British Beer Festival draws in drinkers with 900 beers, ciders, and perries on offer, but the festival also gives suppliers the chance to promote products with beer and food matching suggestions.

From pickled eggs to Mexican street food, the food stalls will be busy, with 50,000 people expected at London’s Kensington Olympia this week.

“What better show to do than a beer festival?” says James Hughes Davies, director of Little Jack Horner’s, a company that makes home-made sausage rolls. “This is the grand high beer festival of them all, so it’s always a real pleasure to be involved."

'Natural combination'

He added: “A sausage roll pretty much goes with any beer, it’s a natural combination. It’s the perfect hand-held snack.”

“We’ve got a black pudding and apple [sausage roll], which will go very well with a good porter but, in general, they will work very well with any beer that you buy here.”

From the more conventional pub food, with the likes of home-made Cornish pasties or sausages and mash, there were other unorthodox beer-matching products, such as chocolate.

Jack Horners

Chilli chocolate

Iain Flanagan, director of the Oddfellows Chocolate Co, which specialises in beer and chocolate pairing, said: “We’ve got a lemongrass chocolate that goes really well with dry ciders or stout. The chocolate orange instead can be paired with IPAs, especially with our chilli chocolate.”

The products ranged from milder to stronger flavours, such as the Scorpion Death Chilli Chocolate.

Flanagan added: “There’s always something there that will go with a beer.”

Artisan cheese

The Whole Cheese sold organic melted artisan cheese on toast, and suggested cheddar with cider because of its dry taste.

“We think it's the perfect snack with a drink, [people] can have a bite and come back to it later,” the company suggested.

“I love beer myself and I wanted to look for a different avenue where we can sell our cheeses.”


Diverse range

The festival also included a special bar of bottled beers called Real Ale in a Bottle. This year, the stand at the GBBF focused on products from Greater London. Sharon Broom, a CAMRA volunteer who is deputy manager of the bar, said: “We’ve got about 80 different beers today. It is the first time we’ve selected beers from one area, so it’s a bit of a trial.

“It’s such a diverse range of beers from blondes to porters and stouts from a huge variety of different brewers.

“We are hoping it will be success, we hope everyone enjoys themselves. I’m hoping we’ll run out of beer, that’s the sign of a good beer festival!”

The festival runs from Tuesday 8 August to Saturday 13 August 2016. 

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