A food and beer dinner.

I like to try beer and food combos out, but they tend to be spontaneous, selecting a beer from the cupboard based on what I'm cooking. This time I decided I would decide what I'm cooking based on what beers I wanted to drink. I tried to arrange it so that the beers would go with two courses each then used my girlfriend as the guinea pig. They seemed to all go down okay so here's the details:

Vegetarian ceviche
Starter:Vegetarian ceviche...
Regular ceviche is a seafood salad originating in Mexico, so I found a vegetarian recipe using hearts of palm to look like octopus. And I don't have a martini glass so made use of my St Stefanus Glass.  

...paired with Lindemans Cuvee Rene
Garrett Oliver suggests gueuze with regular ceviche (that's how I found out about the dish) and it certainly works well here. The lime juice accentuates the gueuze sourness which acts as a great palate refresher. I'm now eating fish again so will certainly try the more authentic seafood version, which I reckon will make an even better match.

Goats cheese bruschetta with rocket and balsamic tomatoes
2nd Course: goats cheese bruschetta...
I already know geueze works well with goats cheese, those bretty funky barnyard flavours pick up on that capyric acid in the cheese to give you full on farmyard, but the lactic acid in the beer also helps to bring out those hidden citrus depths.  
If you're not a fan of the gueuze then try a hefeweisse or (as I chose) a biere de garde.

I had a disappointing experience with Jenilain ambree but glad I didn't give up the style as a lost cause because this was a superb beer. The slight wild yeasts again accentuate the goatiness but the herbal sage and slightly peppery flavours in the beer work well with both the cheese and salad. Last but not least the all important carbonation helps to cleanse the greasy cheese from the palate between mouthfuls.

Fruity salmon and tasty veg.
Main Course: Cider Poached Salmon...
Having bought a fillet of salmon and at a loss of how too cook it I turned to my Traditional Beer and Cider recipes book. I found this recipe and it works well with a simple tomato sauce, roast new potatoes and purple sprouting broccoli.

...paired with Thatcher's Somerset Vintage Cider. 
The the unused cider is an obvious pairing choice, accentuating those fruity flavours in the salmon and with enough sweetness to counter the acidity of the tomatoes.
 The 3 Monts didn't hold up quite so well, 
but was by no means a poor partner for the food.

Now with Minieggs
 Dessert: Key Lime Pie...
A dessert I've long enjoyed but never attempted to make until now. I was surprised at how simple the recipe was, the hardest part is waiting for it to set!
Melt 100g of butter and mix in 250g of crushed digestive biscuits. Spread into a 20cm loose bottomed tin, shaping the edges to 4cm. Chill in the fridge for 30mins. Combine the zest and juice of five limes with a carton of double cream and condensed milk and leave for a few hours to set. Simples.

Purple hued.
This was the only sensible choice really, a nice fruity lambic to contrast the lime sharpness and condensed milk sweetness of the dessert. This is my second and final bottle of the beer and its drinking even better than a few months ago. blackberry, sweet cream, sour lambic, tart citrus - its a great match and probably my favourite of the lot.

If you've not tried food and beer pairing at home then give it a go and why not try converting a few sceptical wine drinkers whilst you're at it?!


  1. Being a Somerset lad, do you find (as I do) that some lambic beers bear a resemblance to farmyard scrumpy?

  2. Yes indeed, i think that may be because you can get brett in ciders too, plus the sourness is similar. The acidity certainly helps with food pairing though (which is where wine excels in the matching stakes)