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�What could be more refreshing than a pint of
bitter and a Ploughman's in the pub after a
long country walk?' asks Fuller's head brewer
John Keeling. Have you ever considered misoglazed
smoked eel with buckwheat noodles,
fermented mushrooms and dashi, paired with
Pressure Drop's Stokey Brown at ne-dining hotspot Alyn Williams at
The Westbury? Between these two extremes, the scope for beer and
food matching is immense - and with its lower alcohol content and
cheaper price than wine, there's plenty of room for experimentation.
Michelin-starred beer and food champion Alyn Williams (pictured
below) serves a beer ight as well as a wine ight to go with his
tasting menu (£115). He says, 'Beer pairing is as important as wine…
from a taste and experience point of view there is no dierence at all.'
At Le Gavroche, head sommelier David Galetti believes matching
beer with food can be more precise than pairing wine with food
thanks to 'the range of ingredients it is increasingly made with,
including fruit, chocolate, herbs and spices'. His ultimate pairing
at Le Gavroche is terrine of foie gras with Fuller's Honey Dew. 'The
delicate sweetness of this honey ale balances the rich avours of
foie gras,' he says. 'It works in exactly the same way as sweet wine,
with which it is traditionally served in France.'
Here's our guide to getting started…
ASIAN BEERJapanese and Chinese beers are often brewed with the addition
of rice, giving them a lighter body and making them very
quaable. This means they pair well with lighter dishes such
as sushi but also provide crisp refreshment in the face of rich
Chinese food. Luo Bing, chef at northern Chinese specialist
Hutong at the Shard, says versatile Pilsner-style lagers such
as Tsingtao can even cope with very hot food. 'Tsingtao goes
well with any Chinese food, but it pairs perfectly with the ery
Sichuanese cuisine that Hutong is famous for. Its crisp, clean
avour stands up exceptionally well to the exhilarating ma
la - literally "numbing hot" - heat of dishes such as red lantern
soft-shell crab and ma la chilli prawns.'
For a less hoppy, drier style, try something like Asahi, from
Japan. It has a hint of citrus on the nose, making it perfect to drink
with sushi. It's also bright and refreshing enough to cope with
battered dishes such as tempura.