By: Javier Sánchez Valenzuela “El Cerveciáfilo”
Whenever in a conversation someone starts talking about Pairing, it is taken for granted that they are combining some type of food with some type of wine. Nothing is more impressive in a meeting than to slip a comment that links that recently opened a bottle of wine with some dishes that surely are in front of you at that moment, right?
There are entire books that dedicate their content to this topic, as well as countless television shows that guide us through the delicate and fragile paths of flavors and aromas that, like censorial selestinians, marry our neurons.
Who is going to deny that roast beef tacos with a well-chilled Coca is not something like being in heaven? Or a Pizza with a glass of red wine or a Chinese meal combines with a Cahuama, some flour tortilla tacos with egg, and a coffee with sugar and milk… mmm what a delight! After all, pairing -essentially- is combining two or more things that give us pleasure when we eat them together.
Obviously, in these pairings, the usual thing happens: there are people who like traditional pairings and others who like to explore flavors that had not been brought together before. I have witnessed discussions of people who do not conceive how someone can eat a tuna steak with something other than white wine, while others are eating it with a strawberry milkshake on the side. In short, everyone has the right to make wars inside their mouth whenever they feel pleased with the mix.
Generally, all meals can be accompanied by wine or beer. The main problem we have in Mexico in this regard is that practically no restaurant sells you more than two or three styles of beer (all Lagers), while frequently the variety of wines is wider. However, it is important to know that, if you happen to be lucky enough to find one of those freethinking restaurants that sell brands from all over the world, have the confidence to ask the server to guide you.
It is common for traditional lager-style beers to be taken as an appetizer, with vegetarian dishes, fresh seafood, carne asada, tacos al pastor, and -of course- with pizza or oriental food. Seafood tastes great with Stout and Porter beers, especially steamed clams and mussels. If you are going to eat ceviche or smoked fish, it is a good idea to accompany them with a Red Ale and even a Belgian Lambica. Are you going to eat fish? Ask for a Pilsner or a German Lager. Chicken and pork go perfectly with malty Lagers or Vienna-type beers (like dark Bohemia, for example) and dark Lagers like Märzen.
Lamb, veal, or fine cuts of beef go perfectly with dark, fruity Ales or Pale Ales. Spicy foods, such as those that abound in our country, go perfectly with amber or dark Lagers. Salads with Gueuze or Berliner Weisse-style beers and even raspberry fruit trees. Perhaps, if the salad has walnuts or almonds, marinate it with a Brown Ale, that is a good decision!
And what can I tell you about cheeses? There are as many possible combinations as types of cheese and beer. In this regard, the British sommelier and brewmaster Marc Stroobandt has spent a lot of time and money organizing in different cities, including New York, very complete tastings where he perfectly combines Italian cheeses and food with artisanal beers from around the world with surprising results.
The pairing of beer with food inevitably expands more and more as we get to know more styles of beer. Knowing more styles of beer is pure hedonism. Your senses are heightened and your possibilities of generating pleasure are enhanced, I guarantee that.
What new beer did you try this week? Explore, have fun, lose yourself in diversity. Look beyond the corner store.