The Padre sent me this neat article about pairing beer with food and how it made a believer of a non-beer drinker. Unlike other articles of this stripe, there doesn’t seem to be an agenda here other than pairing food with beer and showing what is possible in that world.

But like so many articles I see of this stripe, all the beers are from some other country. As though the only beer in America is macrobrewery beers and the only way to convince someone beer is good is to give them beers from abroad. I don’t fault the author; she’s dipping her toe into the world of beer. I blame the guide, who wants to suggest that:

“We are going toward simpler cooking in most kitchens, and beer is very easy to match with simple foods…beer is cheaper, more accessible and less intimidating.”

Then you need to actually provide people with those simplicities and affordability. If you don’t–and I think part of the barriers to entry in the world of craft brewing, (aside from knowledge) for many people is that the ‘good’ beers are from ‘somewhere else’ giving people who drink it a stigma, as though they think they’re better than you–then how can you suggest this with a straight face? Even the food recipes are a little fancy. Not that this is bad but why isn’t someone suggesting a great beer with a hamburger with cheddar and tomato? Or a BLT, potato salad, a brautwurst and fries or spaghetti? Are these not great foods that deserve a great drink? Nothing wrong with salad or rules of thumb but then show me something recognizable matched with something strange so you’re actually walking the walk.

On top of that, the ‘simpler cooking’ the guide suggests often comes from chefs across the country deciding to use local ingredients or food from their childhood. How does having food grown in Oregon but beers made in Italy (to make up an example) mesh with that philosophy?

I understand that the guide is specifically trying to convert wine drinkers to beer drinkers but hasn’t he ever seen Bottle Shock?

2 thoughts on “Pairings”

  1. I think you liked the article (you called it neat). However, your heavy emphasis on the things you didn’t like would pretty much discourage anyone from reading or listening to the story. On the upside, this article educates people to the idea that there is as much to think about and learn regarding the relation of beer to food as food and wine. Your own prejudices (based on the knowledge of a conneisseur) seem to discourage people from learning what they can from this story. overpower

    1. Well, I don’t feel I am responsible for the reading or not reading of an article by someone. That’s up to the audience and there is a rising horde of articles out there that want to suggest that beer and food should be paired together, so the chances to become educated about local brewing are higher than they ever were.

      However, it is still up to the audience to discern that for themselves what’s good and bad and to do that, they’ll have to read the article. I linked it so I can’t make it any easier than that.

      My prejudices have allowed me to point out the biggest flaw with this story: that this guide had an excellent opportunity and he blew it. How true that flaw holds is going to depend on the reader, I suppose.

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