Following on from our previous article on beer and food pairing and seeing the warm sunshine still with us we though it would be a good idea to talk about BBQs and beers that add to their enjoyment.
What we find is that a light, clear, clean drink is needed to compliment the smokiness that comes from cooking either directly on flames or on a griddle. A sizzling chicken kebab or a gently charged steak call for a nice cold tasty glass of not-too strong beer.
What to choose though? Having had far too many occasions where there was not much choice of tasty tipple Peter, Ridgeway’s head brewer, decided to do something about it.
BBQ and the outdoors was on his mind from the start when he created Oxfordshire Blue. English Fuggle and Styrian Golding hops ensure good, tangy hop flavours, perfect to complement burgers, sausages, chicken wings or anything else from the grill.
The mixture of German style pilsner malt and a traditional ale malt makes it light bodied and easy drinkable. Above all, the beer is designed to be drunk cold. Conditioning time, longer than it is common with traditional beers, means it stays clear when kept in the fridge, unlike many English ales that will go cloudy if stored chilled.
Do you agree with him? What is your favourite food to have with Oxfordshire Blue? Let us know.
As fate would have it drinking beer with food is something people have been doing ever since brewing has been invented. Rightly so as beer and food go together remarkably well. When chosen with care, both can add to the enjoyment of the other. In particular, beer is less alcoholic and as such is much better than wine in terms of quenching thirst.
People have an idea that when you sit down to dinner, wine is the only option. This is not the case. Wine goes better with some food, beer goes better with others.
So what are the rules? The simple answer is ‘whatever rocks your boat’ and you can get really creative. There are at least as many types of beer as there are wine, if not more, and creating new combinations will keep you busy for a few years.
First, we need to answer the simple question: Is the food complimenting the beer or is the beer complimenting the food? The choice will be different if the focus is on drinking with mates after work (as in a pub) or enjoying gourmet dinner with friends, or anything in between…
For the occasions that food is complemented by beer – the choice of beer will depend on the type of food that is served in terms of acidity, the strengths of flavours, how spicy the food is, but also what the weather is doing outside. A different type of beer will be called for in the depth of winter or when we’re all looking for shade from the summer sun.
Rather than suggesting lists of beers to go with lists of food we’d like to spend some time explaining why we believe certain combinations are better than others. Starting with Ridgeway Bitter, more to follow in the next few weeks.
Now that the school holidays are over we are all settling into our usual routines, with the traditional Fish&Chips Fridays for many. So what goes well with Fish&Chips and why?
It goes without saying that using good quality fish to start is a given. Equally important is to pay attention to the batter. How to make it light and fluffy but thick enough that it protects the fish from burning and cooks at the right time?
The answer is a carbonated liquid, preferably with the right balance of salts and a modest alcohol level. These all help the ‘fluffiness’ of the batter, makes it lighter and adds interest to the taste.
We think that bottled Ridgeway Bitter is particularly suited for this task. Bottles are more carbonated than traditional cask beers so produce lighter batter. The alcohol in Ridgeway Bitter at 4% is at just the right level.
For batter, a lighter coloured beer with hoppy notes should be used rather than dark, sweet ale. Again, what is required is balance. The hoppiness should be modest, not too overpowering otherwise the fish will taste of hops!
What to do with beer that is left over from cooking? Drink it with the dinner of course! As it’s highly suited for the cooking the Fish&Chips, it’s even better suited for drinking with Fish&Chips.
Beer Batter for fish or anything else you fancy (will be enough for about 4 medium sized fillets). For Gluten Free version use gluten free flour, gluten free baking powder and Ridgeway Bitter Gluten Free
Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl, make a small well in the middle and gently pour the beer, whisking constantly until you have a lump-free smooth batter. Then use with your favourite cooking method. Let us know how you got on.
What is your favourite beer to go with Fish&Chips? Get in touch on our FB page and share your ideas. See you next time ....……
When it comes to serving beers, it is fair to say that the UK has a long way to go. In the past it was perhaps a given that beer was there to be drunk in quantities, the shape or size of glass didn’t matter other than it had to be a pint. This view is still widely held.
We at Ridgeway believe that enjoyment of beer should come from not just the taste but also from the smell and the appearance of the beer. As with food, presentation is important to the overall experience and how the beer is served deserves attention.
Before you start thinking of what glass to use, it’s best to think of what the occasion is. Is food and drink the main focus or is it there as a background to other things going on?
A summer’s BBQ with friends? Drinking directly from the bottle, especially if it’s a 330ml bottle, is perfectly fine. It’s easy and makes the subsequent washing up a non-event. Plus there is no danger of losing your glass again and again…
A dinner party where beer is paired with food in a similar way to food/wine pairing? Or a quiet night in watching a good film/TV? This occasion definitely merits beer being served in glasses…. It’s perfectly OK to use your imagination. We recommend drinking anything stronger than 6% from a stemmed red wine style glass. Others may have other preferences. The stronger the beer, the smaller the glass. And it’s OK to share a bottle between two or three of you. This way you can have fresh, chilled beer at all times.
Would you ever serve yourself a ½ pint of wine in a beaker? Possibly not. Why do this with beer? A 10% Imperial Russian Stout, complementing a desert or a cheese course, should be served in a size of no more than a large wine glass. I personally preferred it served in a stemmed medium size glass of cca 200ml. You’ll enjoy the taste more and your head will thank you in the morning…..
Please let us know on our FB page your favourite ways to serve beer and have it served to you.
As Britain basks in the hottest summer since the late 70’s many people are asking themselves what is the best beer to enjoy. Is a very cold lager really the only option? The answer is no, there are beer styles that are perfect for this time of year, ideal to go with BBQ’s, be it meat, fish or veggie. One such style is Golden Ale.
Conceived in the late 80’s by brewers keen to help the younger generation switch from branded lagers, Golden Ales are light in colour, with a lighter maltiness but still reasonably hoppy. Above all they are meant to be drunk cool, maybe even cold.
When it comes to serving temperatures we get very frustrated that in this day and age we still hear drinkers convincing us that real ales are meant to be drunk ‘warm’. Please do not believe anyone who tries to persuade you of such a thing. There are very few occasions when beers should be served at room temperature and a golden ale in the summer is not one of them. Warm beer? Never!
Whatever your favourite style, cool it in the fridge for couple of hours before drinking. What’s there to lose? Beer is too cold when you take it out of the fridge? No problem – pour it into a glass, wait for 5 minutes and it’s perfect! Beer hazy? No problem – it’s only the proteins showing themselves, they were there all along and don’t affect the taste.
We at Ridgeway go even further and have designed our golden ale Oxfordshire Blue to be drunk properly cold. Straight from the fridge, it remains clear and crisp. Being bottle conditioned it is a real ale – with yeast in the bottle and all the goodness with it. So pop it in an ice bucket at a BBQ for a while (secretly displacing canned lagers if there is no space) and then enjoy. Full of taste and easy drinking. Don’t let your friends know though – they will like it and you may run out!
Can’t enjoy a glass of good beer because of gluten intolerance? No problem, we have a Gluten Free version of Oxfordshire Blue. Go to our ‘where to buy’ page to find your nearest shop.