Craft Beer 101
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Craft beer is claiming its rightful place at your dinner table as more people discover the wide-ranging flavour profile that craft beer has to offer. Enhance your dining experiences by finding that perfect beer to accompany your meal.
There are no hard rules of pairing food and beer, other than to drink what you enjoy for the occasion. What's important is to seek out beers that either complement, cut or contrast flavours with your meal. Here are a few tips on finding the right craft beer flavour profile that matches your cooking:
LAGER & WHEAT BEERS
Light beers such as lager or wheat beers have crisp, smooth and refreshing flavour which will make light foods such as green salads, sushi or sashimi taste even fresher.
Delicious with local dishes such as: fried hokkien mee, steamed fish head, prata, or curry puff.
AMBER ALES & ENGLISH ALES
Malty beers such as amber ale and most English ales have caramel flavours from the malt. They complement well food items that are caramelized during cooking such as lasagne, pizza or roasted meats. The richness in the beer also works well with stews.
Delicious with local dishes such as: Char kway teow, bak kwa, black carrot cake, and mee goreng.
PALE ALES & INDIA PALE ALES (IPA)
Hoppy beers such as pale ales and India pale ale (IPA)s have floral or fruity bitterness from the blend of hops. They match extremely well with spicy local food such as curry, chilli dishes, spicy Mexican or Szechuan dishes. The bitterness cuts through the spiciness, resulting in a balanced flavour that lessens the overpowering impact of each other.
Delicious with local dishes such as: sambal stingray, fish head curry, laksa, chilli crab, mee siam, chicken rice (with chilli) or nasi briyani.
Roasty beers such as brown ale have roasted, almost chocolaty flavour profile, hence they go well with grilled, barbecued or smoked meat, hamburgers or sausages.
Delicious with local dishes such as: satay, BBQ chicken wings, or popiah (because of the nutty flavour) and kway chap.
STOUT & PORTERS
Stout and porter have characteristic coffee-like flavours. They are great with chocolate cake or creamy desserts. A must-try is oyster and stout, a match made in heaven.
Delicious with local dishes such as: oyster omelette, rojak and kaya toast.
- For a delicious aperitif, choose a light beer to serve before a meal.
- Lambic fruit beers or barley wines can be excellent digestif, with or without dessert.
- Like with wine, soups are notoriously difficult to pair with beer.
Bon appétit and cheers!
Know how to talk beer! Here's a glossary of beer code, decoded:
Mmm... Beer. Versatile enough to be enjoyed at a sweltering BBQ and fancy restaurant, beer is mainly made from malt, hops and water. What's different in Craft Beers, is that they are made from small, independent and traditional breweries (otherwise known as microbreweries) who create smaller amounts of beer as compared to large corporations. These smaller portions of beer (therefore known as Craft Beer) are flavourful, aromatic, innovative and unique in their own styles.
Ales are beers are fermented with top-fermenting yeast. Typically fruiter and hoppier than lagers. Ales come in all different colors, flavors, and levels of alcohol content. Types of ales include pale ales, IPAs, wheat beers, amber ales, brown ales, porters, and stouts.
Lagers are fermented with a type of yeast known as bottom-fermenting yeast, which produces beers with higher amounts of carbonation and lower levels of alcohol content. Lagers typically have a smooth, crispy flavor and usually popular (just look at the mainstream brands!). Types of lagers include Pilsners, Pale Lagers, Light Lagers, and Dark Lagers.
A measure of the alcohol content within a beer by volume (Alcohol By Volume). The higher the ABV percentage, the higher the alcohol content of the beer will be. High ABV beers have become very popular in the craft-brewing world.
A key ingredient in beer brewing, malt is barley or wheat that has been moistened for germination to occur, then kilned to stop the seed from growing. Beer gets its colour from the degree that its grains have been roasted.
The light green and leafy flower of the humulus lupulus plant, hops are boiled with beer wort (a sweet liquid extracted from steeping malt in warm water) to flavour beers with bitter, fruity, herbaceous, spicy or floral notes. With the explosion of craft beers, there are now more than 100 different types of hop varieties and counting.
Yeast is responsible for fermentation in beer. Yeast metabolises the sugars extracted from malt, which produces alcohol and carbon dioxide, and thereby turns wort into beer. In addition to fermenting the beer, yeast influences the character and flavour of the beer.
Beer is more than 90% water, so the quality of water used in beer brewing is extremely impactful on the beer flavour.
Adjuncts are fermentable material used as a substitute for traditional or quality grains, to make beer lighter-bodied (bland) or cheaper. Unlike mega-breweries from large corporations, craft brewers will never use adjuncts to lighten flavour, only to enhance flavour.
A 'hoppy' beer is one rich with the fragrance of hops. You'll taste a 'bitter hoppy' flavour in a lager or pilsner, and 'fruity' or 'floral hoppy' notes in a pale ale or India pale ale (IPA).
Another word to describe a beer. Terms like 'biscuit-y', 'nutty', 'cereal', 'crackers', 'grain', 'toasty', 'caramel', 'roasty' and 'chocolately' are common flavours in any beer, light to dark.
Lingo used by craft beer geeks to describe a brew that's easy to quaff many bottles, glasses and pints of in one sitting. They are usually low on the bitterness and alcohol. Most lagers are sessionable beers, as are lightly hoppy pale ales and crisp wheat beers. It doesn't mean you won't get drunk though!
To drink deeply.
The textures one perceives in a beer. Includes carbonation, fullness and aftertaste.
The consistency, thickness and mouth-filling property of a beer. The sensation of palate fullness in the mouth ranges from thin- to full-bodied.
A standard beer container that is 31.5 gallons.
Draught / Draft
Beer drawn from kegs rather than from cans or bottles.
A cylindrical container made of steel or aluminum or in the case of one-way kegs, plastic used to transport and store beer under pressure.
The volume of a tall glass of beer. The definition of a pint differs in many countries. American pints are 473ml, whereas British pints are 568ml. Pints in Singapore generally means 500ml unless otherwise specified.