I attended the monthly beer club at Left Hand Brewing earlier this week. The topic for November is Harvest Beer and Food.
Eric Wallace made recommendations on how to pair food with beer. He said you want to make sure that the intensity of each are equal. Then, you can pair them because they have complementary flavors or because they have contrasting flavors or both.
The food/beer pairing presented to us included:
Left Hand's Black Jack Porter paired with a Mushroom Ravioli with a little olive oil and some shaved 2 yr old Parmesan cheese.
The earthiness of the mushroom complements the golden hops in the Porter. The malty sweetness and bready characteristics go nicely with the aged cheese.
Next up was Lakefront Brewery's Pumpkin Lager paired with homemade Pumpkin Pie (made by Eric's daughter). The Pumpkin Lager was so lightly spiced that it actually was overpowered by the pumpkin pie.
Then, we had Left Hand's Haystack Wheat paired with homemade cranberry sauce. The cranberry sauce had lots of citrus in it. The tartness of the cranberries were softened by the Wheat beer. The Haystack Wheat has a hints of banana, clove and nutmeg. The cranberry sauce knocked out the banana flavor. This was a very balanced pairing.
As usual, I then tried mixing and matching the pairings to see what else worked and didn't work well together.
Cranberry sauce went well with the Pumpkin Lager, as well as the Haystack Wheat.
Pumpkin Pie paired really nicely with Porter.
Mushroom Ravioli went great with the Porter.