Food and Beer Pairings - My Favorite Trend of the New Year!

By Ryan Loose

Had one of the coolest dining experiences I’ve had in a long time the other night. Went to this micro-brewery / restaurant at a nearby university for the first time. Figured, get to try some new beer, and probably have a good meal, can’t go wrong, right? Wow! Can’t go wrong with anything on the menu is more like it! The coolest thing for me was that the restaurant had started making food and beer pairing suggestions as part of their menu.

Red? White? Man, All I Really Want Is A Beer!

Beer and food pairings have always been an interest of mine. I like beer. I like food. I like to drink beer while I eat food. Pretty clear logic there, hunh? And, based on the recently released Chef’s Survey: What’s Hot in 2010 from the NRA (National Restaurant Association), food and beer pairings are a hot trend going into 2010. It isn’t that uncommon for high end restaurants to make wine suggestions with their meals, but I really hadn’t been to a restaurant that made beer recommendations until that night. If you’re a beer snob, like me, a well selected beer can dramatically improve your dining experience.

Some Pointers

Sample, Sample, Sample - Anytime you can try a sample of a beer you haven’t had before, DO IT! Different beers have very different characteristics which you may like, or you might just plain down hate. If you run a brew pub, or restaurant with house beers, we’ve got a great selection of beer sampling products that allow you to sell profitable sampler flights and build your brand’s recognition.

Go With Your Gut - If the restaurant doesn’t note pairings on the menu, sample a couple beers and then pick your appetizers and entree based on the beer you prefer. Many chefs who design beer themed menus actually start with the beer first, and then decide what food to serve with which course.

Trust Your Waiter - At brew pubs, 9 chances out of 10, your waiter / waitress has probably tried the house brews. They probably really like them too. Would be a shame to work at a pub where you didn’t like the beer, wouldn’t it? The guy at the restaurant I was at the other night was awesome. Really knew the beer. He made some suggestions for other styles to try, based on the selections I had made. He also made some great beer / food pairing suggestions that weren’t on the menu, but really perfected the dining experience at his restaurant. Bottom line: Trust your waiter.

Shout out to Bill here. Bill dude, great job. Be back next week man!

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