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Choose Beer Instead Of Wine For Your Next Dinner Party

03/18/2016 12:56 EDT | Updated 03/19/2017 05:12 EDT
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When hosting a dinner party, it's almost become second nature to make sure there are a couple bottles of wine at the ready. In fact, most guests will even bring a bottle or two to make sure there is ample supply for the evening. While it's true that wine and food pairing has been a customary part of history for ages, this dedication to serving appropriate wine and food pairings really only took off in the 1980s when the industry began reexamining the concept of wine and winemakers started to emphasize the kind of food dishes that their wines would go well with, some even printing pairing suggestions on back wine labels. Beer, while just as historically significant, was relegated to pubs and taverns, a concept that is beginning to change.

Thanks to the renewed interest in craft beer, once again we're starting to see a dedicated interest in food pairings. Just as wine has Sommeliers, beer has Cicerone, certified professionals in the art of beer and food pairing. Fortunately, you don't have to be a professional to find the right pairings, and with a few tips, can substitute any wine for a unique craft beer.

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Appetizers

Since appetizers are generally lighter and more flavourful, you want to pair these with a light style beer that compliments but doesn't overpower. Cheese is a popular starting dish that can be paired nicely with Belgian Ale or an English Pale Ale (ESB). Both styles will compliment the natural flavour of the cheese while also cleansing the palate.

Should your appetizers include grains or beans, think more along the lines of a Pilsner or a Hefeweizen, both very light in terms of texture and flavour but will nicely balance out the salt and graininess of both dishes.

Entrees

The old adage "white wine with fish, red wine with meat" tends to apply when it comes to beer pairing as well. When serving fish or shellfish a Blonde Ale with a dry finish or a Belgian Saison will help bring out the natural sweetness.

When dealing with meat, you'll want to take into consideration the level of fattiness of the dish you're serving. Dishes like chicken, turkey or duck benefit from pairings like American Style Pale Ales or Brown Ales, as the natural fats balance out the hop bitterness. Steak and beef are rich and should be pairing with a dark Porter or Stout, while fatty pork needs a strong IPA to offset the intensity of the fat with hops. If you're feeling adventurous, Sour Ales also pair nicely with red meat, just be warned they aren't for everyone and are a bit of an acquired taste.

Entrees

The old adage "white wine with fish, red wine with meat" tends to apply when it comes to beer pairing as well. When serving fish or shellfish a Blonde Ale with a dry finish or a Belgian Saison will help bring out the natural sweetness.

When dealing with meat, you'll want to take into consideration the level of fattiness of the dish you're serving. Dishes like chicken, turkey or duck benefit from pairings like American Style Pale Ales or Brown Ales, as the natural fats balance out the hop bitterness. Steak and beef are rich and should be pairing with a dark Porter or Stout, while fatty pork needs a strong IPA to offset the intensity of the fat with hops. If you're feeling adventurous, Sour Ales also pair nicely with red meat, just be warned they aren't for everyone and are a bit of an acquired taste.

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