Looking for the perfect brew to go with your hearty meal? Or need a light, refreshing sip to go with snacks? Here are some tips on how to pair the best beer with the right flavor profiles from beer aficionados Mark and Christine Tuchman, the co-owners of 99 Bottles in downtown Sarasota:
1. Find beers parallel or perpendicular to food's flavor profile
Beers can either match or contrast a food's flavor. Pair a light, crisp pale lager with a light meal. Or use it to cut through a hearty, rich meal. A full meat and potatoes meal might call for its parallel—a rich brown ale or hearty stout.
2. Pair IPAs and sour beers with a neutral-flavored snack
"The IPA category is still king around here, with a lot of different subcategories," says Mark Tuchman. West Coast IPAs are bold, bitter and citrusy, while hazy IPAs taste more tropical, with notes of papaya. Sour beers are tart and acidic with fruit flavors, as well. These bright flavors call for plain snacks, like a baked pretzel, popcorn or cheese and crackers, that won't change the beer's flavor.
3. Match beer's fruity, sour notes with sour sides
"If someone's enjoying a sour beer and wants a meal, they might want something like a pork roast with sour cherry glaze to match," says Christine Tuchman.
4. Try beer and cheese
One of the Tuchmans' favorite pairings is beer and cheese. Cheese offers unique profiles that work well with many styles of beer, and the flavors meld together to create a new, delicious taste. Try a wheat beer with mozzarella, or a stout or barleywine with a strong cheese.
5. Why not drink a beer with dessert?
99 Bottles is hosting a dessert and beer pairing night on Saturday, Nov. 7, with the sought-after Brew Bus Hazelnut Spread beer with a Nutella dessert trio. Beer and sweets might sound like a strange combo, but the Tuchmans say they work well together.