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 ....……