Thursday, May 11, 2006

Think outside those national boundaries!

There was a piece in a recent Louisville Magazine that unwittingly summarized my frustration with the "food and beer" status quo.

As a sidebar to an analysis of Louisville-area Asian dining options, writer Mary Welp correctly noted that conventional wisdom precludes the effective pairing of wine with such fare, and that beer is considered a superior accompaniment.

Unfortunately, given this promising beginning, she proceeded to describe the ways that native Asian megabrews pair with regional food … and, not unexpectedly, all three of the beers she mentioned are mass-produced golden lagers.

What was that about conventional wisdom?

Here’s genuine wisdom: Just because a country produces a beer doesn’t mean that it’s the best choice to pair with that country’s native cuisine.

Yes, she did manage to cite Belgium’s Duvel as an alternative choice and wrote highly of it, but as much as I like it The Devil, you’ll not find flavor parameters in it that are appreciably different from the golden lager norm.

Instead, why not pair Chinese and Japanese food with hoppy ales, strong stouts or German wheat beers? That would be thinking outside the box, although diverse choices like these aren’t what you’ll usually find stocked at ethnic eateries with alcohol licenses.

Nothing against the writer, whom I haven’t met, but am I the only one interested in pairing great food with equally great beer, irrespective of the beer’s national origin?


Stan Hieronymus said...

Roger, I certainly agree with the German wheat beers, but also don't forget Belgian saisons or tripels (that extra bit of spice and the hoppiness of Westmalle provides a little more oomph than Duvel).

For that matter a Northern German pils often works nicely.

The New Albanian said...

That's a great call on the Saison.

lonegunman said...

How often have I perused the fine wine list somewhere and sighed in despair at the short and pathetic list of available light lagers, never ales, and thought 'has anyone considered beer pairing'?