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Beer and Food Pairings Guide

Updated: Mar 29

Pairing the best Greek beer with proper food is one of our specialties which we share on our Craft Beer & Food tours in Crete, Greece. Welcome to a rich experience of flavours. Here is the Beer and Food pairings guide.


beer and food pairing how to

The beer world has a spectacular spectrum of flavours that can blow your taste buds open, one whose history spans over 6,000 years, traditions honed into excellence for centuries, and where the craft beer movement is innovating a new galaxy of game-changing styles.


Pairing great beer with proper food is one of our specialties at Bonnie and Clyde Urban Tours, which we share on our Craft Beer & Food tours in Crete, Greece. Welcome to a rich experience of flavours.


"

My favourite part was the food pairings.
I never paid attention to how the food could change the taste of the beer,
it was mind blowing!
"

- Roxanna from Rotterdam



craft beer and food pairings how to

Each Winter, while we put our tours on pause, we refine our Beer and Food Pairing Menus, in order to satisfy our future guests, during our Beer & Food Tour Experiences.


How to pair beer with food is a hot topic during our tours, creating lively conversations and tasting sessions. Today's blogpost presents three main philosophies we use in Beer and Food Pairings, some tips (yes, from personal experience!) and pairing suggestions for all you beer lovers to create your own matches made in heaven.



TIP 1: COMPLEMENT

Pair beer & food with similar flavours


With the Complement method, we aim to highlight the flavours which already exist in the beer by selecting foods of similar qualities. This approach amplifies the beer's character by adding complexity from foods in the same realm.

beer tasting tour crete chania greece

We aim to overwhelm specific parts of our senses of smell and taste with extra aroma and flavour. Think of a double-chocolate cake instead of a regular chocolate cake.

More is more.


To find out what a certain beer flavour profile is, in order to match it with something complementary, you may refer to: the label's description, a quick online search of the beer name and style, beer style guides or a beer app like Untappd.



TRY MATCHING:

  • Light fruity beers with light fruit (peach, apple, pear, grape)

  • Lager beers with plain corn chips, rusks, pizza, pasta

  • Wheat beers such as hefeweizen with bready foods (biscuit, crackers, French pastries) or citrus (orange)

  • Hoppy beers with citrus fruits, berries, herbs or tropical fruits (according the hops)

  • Brown ales with nuts or chicken

  • Amber & red ales with caramel or toffee

  • Dark, roasted beers with espresso, caramel or meatballs

  • Dark, sweet beers with milk chocolate, cake, cookies, brownies, ice cream

  • Yeasty/Sour/Wild beers with cheeses, dark berries or fermented foods


Pro: the flavours can intensify into a large, full, can-miss-it taste.

Con: in some cases, the food could over-power the beer and it could get lost.


Our best advice? Try a multitude of options. Try and try again. You will know when you've found a great match when your taste buds light up and both (beer & food) taste better.



TIP 2: contrast

Pair beer & food with opposite flavours


This approach embraces the philosophy that opposites attract. The Contrast method consist in matching a beer with a food completely unlike it to create synergy: two substances combined to produce a sum greater than its parts.

By creating a duality between different characteristics, we allow multiple parts of our senses of smell and taste to be stimulated simultaneously. More sensors get turned on in our bodies. The key is to play with the five basic tastes the tongue can detect:

sour, bitter, salty, sweet and umami.

flavour tongue chart 5 tastes

Find foods that counterparts the tastes found in the beer, so they fuse into a new dimension of flavour; one that neither one their own could attain.


TRY MATCHING:

  • Light fruity beers with savory empanadas or smoked pork

  • Lager beers with creamy risotto

  • Wheat beers with seafood

  • Hoppy beers with spicy foods (arugula, Asian soups) or greek salad

  • Brown ales with sweet chip flavours or ice creams

  • Amber & red ales with marinated mushrooms, dried meats or nut butters

  • Dark, roasted beers with roasted vegetables or rochford cheese

  • Dark, sweet beers with peppery dishes

  • Yeasty/Sour/Wild beers with sharp cheddar or dolmades/stuffed vine leaves


Pro: get ready for some mind-blowing, taste bud exploding, flavour revelations.

Con: some matches won't work out, where neither the beer nor the food will taste better.


To nail the Contrast pairing style, one must keep trying new combinations. Start in simple ways, play it safe as you begin and progress with more boldness from there. Allow your curiosity and imagination to explore freely and play. Incredible surprises await you with this food pairing tip!



TIP 3: Go WILD

pair something totally out of the box


Throw all rules and over-thinking out the window. The Go Wild method embraces an "anything goes" philosophy. This is flavour freestyle. Without rhyme or reason, with spontaneity and curiosity at their peak, allowing matching beers and foods that wouldn't have crossed your mind otherwise.

beer and food pairing how to

Focus on asking "I wonder what beer X and food Y would taste like together...", thinking out of the box. This is how we came up with this Greek pairing of tzatziki, tomato fritters paired with a local Chania hazy pale ale; a mind-boggling match made in heaven which we often use on our craft beer tours still to this day.



Pro: total freedom to explore can create unpredictable amazing discoveries.

Con: the bigger the risk, the greater the fall; get ready for some massive flops.


Even through the matching fails and flops, keep going! You never know which next beer and food will be a game-catching match. Be bold and enjoy the ride.



 

Join us to experience our top beer and food pairings here in Crete, Greece on our Sunset Craft Beer & Food Tour in Chania or the Craft Beer Walking Tour in Rethymno and other non-touristy tours!





Until then, keep having fun trying the Complement, Contrast and Go Wild pairing styles in the comfort of your home, local bar or while travelling.


Let us know in the comments some of YOUR favourite pairings!



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Love & beer!


- Bonnie


craft beer tours chania rethymno crete greece


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