This Super Bowl Sunday, were likely going to celebrate with some tasty snacks and beverages- primarilybeer. But does any beer go with any meal? Have you ever eaten a few chicken wings saturated in lemon and tarter sauce, only to discover that it doesnt go very well with what youre drinking? With all the different snacks youre going to be serving, its a good idea to consider what types of beer you should serve so that your guests can enjoy both snack and drink together.
Know your beer
Though tastes can vary with producers, beer can be classified by different levels according to their strength and overall taste. Ales tend to produce a more fruity and robust flavor that is more sweet to the palette. Lagers are more likely to be relatively crisp and delicate, likened to a white wine. These qualities can come in light bodies which are more likely to be wheat or lagers. Mediums are usually along the lines of an ale or bock, and heavy is likened to a stout or porter beer.
Beer to food
When pairing food to beer, normally you would put light beers with a light meal, such as baked chicken. The heavier the meal, such as steak or barbeque, the heavier your beer should become. The way the meal is cooked also becomes a factor in choosing your beer (grilled, baked, fried). The carbonation bubbles and natural properties of hops act like acids in wine, cutting grease, flavor, and salt to cleanse the palette. Pizza is fairly greasy and thick, so light beer and ale probably wont be strong enough to be tasted over the pizza. Dark lagers may end up too
strong and overwhelm the pizza, so try a medium textured beer such as an Ale or Bock to match the strength and flavor of pizza. Also as a helpful hint, remember that sweet and salty have their own particular match. If youre enjoying some salty snacks or a heavily salted meal, try a medium bodied ale to contradict the salt with sweet so that they compliment. For most Super Bowl snacks which are dominantly salty and greasy, your best bet is going to be medium bodied ales and bocks to bring out the flavor of your snacks.
As a helpful hint, dont rely on a region to choose your beer for you. Example: Youre enjoying a taco plate at the local Mexican restaurant, a Mexican produced beer wont always pair with what youre eating. Match food qualities to beer qualities, not beer brands.
Remember that beer, like wine, is served best at a certain temperature. Though you may be compelled to get it as cold as possible, or even serve it at room temperature, the flavor is premium between 40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. If your refrigerator keeps things colder than that, let the beer sit for about ten to fifteen minutes before serving. Youll be surprised at the difference temperature can make to the flavor of a beer.
Enjoy what you like
The final step to pairing beer with a meal is to enjoy what you already like. Though it can be good to experiment and try new things, its always likely that if you enjoy a Pilsner or Lager casually, youll enjoy it with most anything you eat. So try something new and see what tastes good to you.