Last week, we looked at wines from Ontario to pair with your Chef’s Plate experience. This week, we turn to man’s best friend: beer.
Ontario is home to a lively brewing community including 32 new breweries that opened in the last few years, and over 150 more listed as either open or in the planning stages. But, does beer actually pair well with food? Some people think that beer is a better fit than wine!
An easy way to remember how beer pairs with food is the rule of three C’s: Cleanse, Complement and Contrast.
1. Cleanse: Beer has bubbles and anything with bubbles is a star when it comes to pairings. The bubbles will work to cleanse the palate and heighten the flavours of your Chef’s Plate meal.
2. Complement: Beer is rich with diverse flavours that are on par with the flavours in food. Whether it’s sweetness from the malt or bitterness from hops, these ingredients make beer a dynamic option to pair with food.
3. Contrast: For the same reason beer complements food, it can also contrast against intense flavours. For instance, a sweeter red ale or wheat beer works nicely when contrasted against spicy flavours found in Thai or Indian cuisine.
Let Chef’s Plate guide you through the three C’s to make for an ultimate week of food and drink at home.
… we recommend Steam Whistle Pilsner. Almost all cuisine reigning from northern European countries is well suited to pair with beer. Bavarian beer halls have been serving up dishes like Chef’s Plate Bavarian Steak for centuries. And with it? They serve beer. (Duh.) Steam Whistle is crisp and refreshing when paired with heavier flavours and textures found in our delicious Bavarian Steak dish.
…we turn to yet another Ontario pilsner: King Brewery’s Pilsner. This Pilsner is slightly more bitter than Steam Whistle and will complement the naturally bitter spinach found in the chicken. With the flavours of parsley and tomato found in the brown rice, it’s important to pick a beer that won’t outshine this delicate recipe.
…we recommend Beau’s Bush Fire Rooibos-Honeybush beer. Earthy-sweet flavours are found in this beer and will complement similar flavours found in the pink peppercorns and grilled peaches. The malty profile of the beer will also contrast nicely with the saltier feta cheese found in this recipe.
…we say branch out from the classic Mexican beers like Corona and opt for something on the sweeter side, like Muskoka’s Summerweiss. Seasonally brewed and available in limited quantities, Muskoka Summerweiss is crafted with “visions of summer in mind”. That’s why we think this slightly sweeter wheat beer will provide a delicious contrast to ease the fire of Mexican spices.
… try an Ontario staple: Mill Street Organic. A softer palate with malty flavour, balanced by a hint of hoppy bitterness, make Mill Street Organic an “organic” fit for the milder flavours of butter and sweet peas found in this pasta dish.
… be bold with a big flavour golden ale. Big Rig’s “Gold” Amber Blonde Ale boasts a smooth and crowd-pleasing body that balances the crisp, hop finish. This is a great “cleansing” beer, that will bring a renewed appreciation to each bite of Chef’s Plate Ma Po Tofu.
What’s your favourite beer pairing? Let us know in the comments below!
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