The Perfect Match – Pairing Good Food with Great Beer
Summer is finally here. It’s getting hotter every day and a lot of people are going in and out of the city to go to the beach. Well, you know the drill when you see blue skies, white sands and clear waters. This means it’s time for some ice cold beer! But before you go ahead drinking some fine brews, we want to share something that could potentially turn into your newest habit: food and beer pairing! We found a way to actually improve your drinking experience. It turns out that certain beers go really well with certain foods.
We all have gotten to be in the point where beer was just a simple drink and food was just simply food. I can enjoy one without the other and I, being a not-so-big-fan of beer, never really realized until now that beer can actually bring out such distinct flavours and amazing experience from the food we eat, one bite at a time.
We went to Draft in Greenbelt Makati. The bar was full of all the good things you’d ever want to drink. Draft specializes in beer. They serve imported beers such as Stella Artois, Hoegaarden, Becks, Guinness, and Leffe. Our team embarked on a fun challenge of dining and drinking. As simple as it may sound, this task involved taking on the complexity of our senses, preferences and knowledge.
We were welcomed by the head bartender, Rolando Cruz and the dining supervisor Sheryl Hernandez. We sat together and we got introduced to their top three best selling beers: Paulaner Original Münchner, Chimay Red and Stella Artois – the stars of the show. Rolando and Sheryl took the liberty of ordering the perfect match for us.
Perfect Match No. 1
Paulaner Original Münchner
This Original Munich Lager is a real classic and believe me, this beer always goes down well. It is mild with a hint of sweetness and it has some soft hints of fruity zest in the background. Light bodied and deep yellow-gold in colour, it has a 4.90% ABV (alcohol by volume). This German Lager fits best with fried and spicy dishes. Luckily for us, it came with Draft’s famous seafood platter – The Fisherman’s Pot.
We all know how bland and flavourless the codfish can often be, but drizzled with a tiny pinch of lemon juice and dipped in tartar sauce, this catch tasted really fresh. The beer brought out a sweet aftertaste which is something we really loved. You can also enjoy it with sour cream and get a somewhat similar feel as the beer cleanses your palate. Needless to say, we found our first perfect match.
The beer-battered, deep-fried mussels dipped in sweet chili sauce, I must say is my favourite one. I’ve never had mussels that tasted better than this Draft creation. Upon my first bite, I was hit with a punch of mild spicy tang, propped up on a foundation of fatty goodness. I chased that bite with my beer which sealed the deal with a kick of sweetness that came at the very end. I think this pair has just taken my love for mussels to a whole new level.
The shrimp and the calamari went so well with both tartar sauce and sweet chili sauce. They were plump and juicy. Following down the sea flavours with my beer, I still got all that malty density working its magic with salt and fat, but the sharpness of both the shrimp and the calamari was perked up by the beer’s underlying bitter-sweet streak.
Perfect Match No. 2
This Belgian Dubbel is noted for its coppery colour which makes it particularly attractive. Topped with a creamy head, this beer gives off a light, fruity apricot aroma. The taste is balanced by confirming the fruity nuances noticed in the fragrance. It also imparts a silky sensation to the tongue, made refreshing by a very light touch of bitterness. This nice Belgian brew has a 7% ABV (alcohol by volume).
Pairing this bold treat with food was almost as fun as doing it with wine. Think of equally bold flavors, whether it’s something with chili and meat, jalapenos and cheese, or even fish and chips with a rich sauce. This is exactly what we had today.
We started our Chimay pairing with the famous Draft Nachos. The nachos were very tasty and it cracks out of its crispiness in every bite but I’d say the jalapenos and chili con carne were the real rockstars of this dish. Ranging from medium to high level of spiciness, this dish was well balanced with the creaminess and sweetness of the avocado puree on top and the saltiness of the cheese sauce that’s hidden underneath the layers of meat and nachos.
The beer chased down the rich, spicy flavours and wrapped it in bitter-sweet aromas that divided the experience into three intense flavours – bitter, sweet and spicy. A combo of rich aromas and flavours that I totally loved.
My next stop with Chimay, Draft’s Fish and Frites. The fish was superb. Draft seems serious in their pursuit of super fresh, sustainably sourced, head-to-tail use of produce. Using their ever famous Beck’s beer batter, this fish got even more interesting as we chased it down with Chimay Red.
The beer’s fruity taste gave the fish and the tartar sauce a great balance between the richness of the salty and bitter-sweet aftertaste. I had just enough crispness at the finish to fight through, and then I cleared my palate for the next bite. Now the question is, was this a perfect match? Indeed, it was!
Perfect Match No. 3
Stella Artois is one of the world’s best-selling beers. I’ve been to many different countries and I must say, this one always finds its way to me. Its full, characteristic flavour and high quality is assured through a superior brewing process. This Belgian brew pours a golden color with a white head.
Beer pairings only ever go wrong when you’re dealing with beers that have high alcohol or bitterness. With an ABV (alcohol by volume) of 5.2%, I was a little worried this might not go down well. But thanks to the experts, they knew exactly what to serve.
I had been eyeing on this Sausage Platter for a while now, and today, I finally tried it. Thanks to my Stella Artois, my experience is something I could call gastronomic. My first go was a bite size of pork and fennel sausage with a little bit of dijon mustard. An explosion of sour, salty and bitter taste. My Stella finished the first try with mild to medium bitterness which faded slowly. The finish was a tangy and fruity aroma. I then had another bite, and another one, and another one. It was hard to resist.
The next bite was unbelievable. I’ve always loved Hungarian sausage and I was excited to find out how the glass of this golden brew could turn this taste test into an absolute wow. The meat was tender and the juiciness was kept perfectly. With my Stella running down with the natural spicy flavours of this Hungarian sausage, there was a blast of fruity flavours with a mild hint of bitterness and sweetness at the finish.
And so once again, we found another perfect match! I honestly thought that the spicy flavours will overpower the beer, but to my surprise, it finished with a great balance which was a nice complement. If you happen to like any of the beers we tried, we encourage you to go out and try them out. You might just re-discover a whole new passion for food pairing where beer is no longer just a simple drink, and eating is more than just something you do for survival.
Draft Gastropub Greenbelt
Address: Greenbelt 2, Esperanza Street, San Lorenzo, Makati, 1223, Metro Manila
Phone: (+63 916) 469 7436
Opening hours: Mon-Sun 11AM–12AM
Click here to order online
Born and raised in a multi-cultural environment and a firm believer that the best way to learn is to travel the world. He enjoys hiking and outdoor bootcamp. His passion for arts, writing, food and business administration lead him to be foodpanda’s Senior Marketing Manager in Hong Kong and in the Philippines.