The National Restaurant Association forecast food and beer pairings as one of the top 5 trends for alcoholic beverages in restaurants in 2015. If you haven’t started incorporating drink pairings into your menu, this fall could be the perfect time to jump on the bandwagon.
Seasonal ingredients are popular on the wishlist of diners young and old. This goes for food as well as drinks. Some iconic fall flavors include squash, pumpkins, mushrooms, apples, maple, cranberries, and spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg. While many of these items are arguable exploited during the fall months, there is certainly a way for any restaurant to capitalize on them in a more humble way.
Pairing drinks with food is not an entirely new concept, but it is definitely more of a science these days. Doing a little research on your own, or hiring a beer sommelier could help you take your fall menu to the next level in giving diners the experience they crave.
Craftbeer.com offers several great tips toward creating delicious food and beer pairings. They suggest the first step is to identify the beers you want to work with and identifying the characteristics of each.
- Taste Elements: The flavors of the beer and the meal can both shine through when the dominant beer taste elements contrast with those in the food. For example, sweet calms sweet in a stout and vanilla ice cream float.
- Flavors: A complementary interaction takes place when the flavor of a beer bridges to the flavors in the food.
- Intensity: You want to match strength with strength so that one item doesn’t overpower the other. The purpose is to have a pairing experience, not render the meal or the beer obsolete.
There are many different ways to offer food and beer pairings. You could create a tasting menu highlighting local seasonal brews and farm fresh ingredients. Another option would be to offer daily or weekly specials highlighting these fall flavors. With a little background information and some creativity, any restaurant that serves beer can find a way to offer the experience that comes from these pairings.
Wegmans offers several suggestions of pairings perfect for this season. Take your house chili recipe and pair it with a blond ale or cream ale. Pumpkin beers go great with roasted turkey or duck. Oktoberfest style beers compliment beef and game as well as a wide variety of sausages.
Seasonal beers and ingredients don’t have to stand alone. Offer your guests an immersive fall experience by serving up some unforgettable food and beer pairings this season.