Pairings | Ale
Six of the best food pairings for Australian Shiraz
What most people probably think of in terms of Australian red wine is a Barossa or McLaren Vale shiraz - big, lush, sweet and ripe, the ideal pairing for grilled or barbecued beef. Hunter Valley shiraz typically has a more savoury character that suits meats like venison and kangaroo while Western Australian shiraz is made in a more elegant style, almost like a red Bordeaux, making it a good pairing for lamb.
Six of the best wine (and other) pairings with chicken pie
Chicken pie - or chicken pot pie - must be one of everyone’s favourite meals but what sort of drink goes with it best? Wine, beer or cider?
8 great wine (and other) matches for roast chicken
Roast chicken. Possibly everyone’s favourite Sunday roast. It can take a red or a white wine so the key thing to focus on is what flavourings - or stuffing - you put with it and the sides you serve.
Six of the best drink pairings for kale
Although there's not quite the feverish frenzy there was about kale a couple of years ago there's still a lot of kale lurve around.
15 Easter wine pairings to learn by heart
If you're wondering what wines you should buy for Easter weekend here's quick guide to what I think are the best Easter wine pairings.
Which wines and beers pair best with mushrooms?
If you think of the ingredients that show off a great wine mushrooms would have to be near the top of the list.
The best pairings for apple desserts
Apple tarts are one of the most flattering desserts to match with sweet wines but what do you drink with other apple-based desserts?
Wine, beer and other pairings with Mexican food
The thing you need to ask yourself when you’re wondering which wine - or other drink - to pair with Mexican food is what kind of Mexican. Authentic Mexican or Tex Mex?
Six drinks you might not have thought of pairing with Indian food
Asking what to drink with Indian food is a bit like asking what to drink with European food - it’s so incredibly varied - but there are pointers that should hopefully make the decision a bit easier.
Wines to pair with fennel
Fennel is one of the handful of vegetables that can influence a main course pairing - almost always for the better. Its aniseed flavour seems to have a pronounced affinity with many wines, especially whites. Here are some suggested matches with recipes that two British chefs have published this weekend - Gordon Ramsay in the Times and Skye Gyngell in the Independent on Sunday.
5 great beer pairings for roast turkey
Even those who normally drink beer feel the need to put a bottle of red wine on the table at Christmas* but beer is actually just as good, if not a better accompaniment for turkey.
Six of the best drinks to pair with a scotch egg
For those unfamiliar with the delicacy a scotch egg is a whole egg wrapped in sausagemeat, then coated in breadcrumbs and deep-fried. Traditionally the egg would have been hard boiled but more recently the fashion has been to serve them soft and even runny like this version from the Opera Tavern. And in some cases - presumably in a vain attempt to make them more healthy - they’re now baked which is wrong on every level.
What wines and beers to pair with meaty stews and casseroles
Now that winter is firmly upon us it's time to head for the kitchen and knock up a rich beef stew or casserole and leave it simmering for hours.
My top wine pairings with strawberries
I’m sure you’re enjoying a bowlful or two of strawberries at this time of year. But what to drink with them?
How Thanksgiving sides can inspire your wine pairing
Although we all talk turkey at Thanksgiving, in fact it’s the sides that tend to steal the show. Finding a wine that can cope with them all is never easy but you may just find your favourite side or dressing can inspire your choice.
Which wines - or beers - pair best with cooked cheese?
Cheese and wine is a notorious minefield but is it any easier when the cheese is cooked? See my suggestions to match Mark Hix's delicious recipes in the Independent today:
Which beer pairs best with the Thanksgiving feast? What the experts say
You’ve probably got your Thanksgiving wine sorted but what about a beer? If you don’t drink it yourself it may not be something you've given much thought to but in fact beer makes just as good a partner for the myriad different flavours of the typical Thanksgiving feast as wine.
Some top beer and wine pairings for Cheshire cheese
I’ve recently had the chance to taste through a range of wines and beers with Cheshire - Appleby’s Cheshire to be exact - so the hits and misses are fresh in my mind. As you probably know it’s a British territorial cheese with a crumbly texture and mellow flavour but quite a firm bite.
Which wine (or beer) to pair with roast beef
Roast beef has the virtue of being one of the easiest dishes to match with wine. You can really drink any medium- to full-bodied red you enjoy. There are a couple of points to bear in mind, however, which might affect the style of wine you choose.
The best wine pairings for cheddar cheese
As with most cheeses the ideal wine pairing for cheddar depends how mature it is. A mild to medium block cheddar is going to be a lot easier to match (and in most cheeselovers’ eyes a lot less interesting) than an aged cloth-bound cheddar of 18 months or more.
Which wine pairs best with tomatoes?
Tomatoes are generally held to be a problem for wine but as Jane McQuitty robustly puts it in The Times today - nonsense!
5 wine and beer pairings for shepherd’s pie
You’ll always find people argue about shepherd’s pie but in my view it should be made with lamb rather than beef (that’s cottage pie) and with very little, if any tomato - apart from maybe a dash of ketchup for sweetness.
5 great pairings for an IPA
Of course it depends what type of IPA or India pale ale you're talking about. A relatively light style will lead you in a different direction from a huge, hoppy double IPA, but these I think would be my top five . . .
10 food and beer pairings that just don't work - and 10 alternatives that do!
People carp about food and beer pairings, griping that they're just made up pretentions that have no right being associated with something as inclusive and democratic as beer, writes Stephen Beaumont
What to pair with artisanal cheddar?
The type of artisanal cheddar I was writing about yesterday - mature, full-flavoured, unpasteurised - isn’t the easiest cheese to match with wine.
What to pair with Coronation chicken?
Coronation chicken is an obvious choice for any Royal occasion but what wine - or beer - should you pair with it?
What food to pair with a 15% ABV wine
Last night we opened a bottle of 2005 Nugan Estate McLaren Parish Vineyard Shiraz - a typically big lush Aussie red at a hefty 15% ABV.
6 of the best pairings for chilli con carne
Like many popular dishes chilli con carne has many different versions - some mild and child-friendly, others much more spicy and assertive and often a little smokey.
The best wine and beer pairings for steak pie
As with many other pairings the best match for steak pie depends how you cook it and whether the sauce includes beer, stock or wine
The best wine pairings for partridge
I sometimes think partridge is my favourite game bird - less full-on and ‘gamey’ than pheasant, more subtle and delicate than chicken. But what wine should you drink with it?
A beer dinner in the heart of Paris shows how the French are taking to craft beer
Lotte Peplow sees American craft brewers persuade the French that wine is not the only thing to drink with a meal ....
Gill Meller's raised pork, chicken and parsley pie
If you fancy a cooking project this weekend Gill Meller's raised pork, chicken and parsley pie from his new book Outside would be perfect.
Seamus Mullen's kale salad with apple, toasted pecans and yoghurt and dill vinaigrette
I've never really 'got' kale but this delicious salad would convert anybody. AND it's healthy too!
Guacamole, salsa and a citrussy pale ale
Last Friday night Helen, our designer, and I had a bit of a works outing to our colleague Monica Shaw's who works on the nuts and bolts of the website. She cooked up an amazing Mexican feast of which this was just one element but it was striking how much better the whole meal went with beer than with wine.
Thomasina Miers' Mole Amarillo
To celebrate Day of the Dead - or maybe even Bonfire Night - here's a fabulous warming spicy Mexican stew for 10 from Thomasina Miers' Wahaca: Mexican food at Home.
How about having a New Year's Eve beer dinner for a change?
If you haven’t already made your plans for New Year’s Eve why not invite over a few friends and treat them to a beer dinner instead of one based on wine? It’s a great way to open their eyes to the great range of artisanal beers that are now available.
Pulled pork roll and a smoked Belgian-style pale ale
As those of you who follow our Facebook page may have spotted I was in France last week so you might expect a pairing with a wine from Languedoc. But no: the outstanding match, as with the previous week, was with a beer - and a rather unusual one at that . . .
The Aldi Platinum Jubilee beer range
Hats off to Aldi for creating three such decent and stylishly packaged beers to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee - and at a typically Aldi price
Sierra Nevada chicken
A bit of a blast from the past, this. It comes from An Appetite for Ale, the beer and food book I wrote with my son Will at the time he owned a pub, the Marquess Tavern back in 2007.
Pork pie and pale ale
Today, being St George’s Day, what other pairing could I offer you but a classic British dish with a classic British beer?
Couscous royale and 2011 Chateau Romanin Les Baux de Provence
Last week we returned to one of our much-loved haunts, Arles, and ate our way round some of our favourite restaurants (the ones that weren’t closed as a number mysteriously seemed to be at what you’d think was still peak holiday season).
Which beers are best for Burns’ Night?
Although we naturally think of drinking whisky on Burns’ Night, beer is just as appropriate a pairing, especially for haggis. And with Scottish beers like Brewdog and Innis & Gunn in wide distribution it’s not too hard to find a homegrown one.
Roast suckling pig and amber ale
I realise this is not the first time I’ve written about the virtues of roast pork and beer but it’s such a great match (and such an underrated one) that I keep on coming back to it. This time I came across it in a splendid northern French tavern called Le Bruegel in Bergues, the highlight of what was otherwise a rather cold, miserable journey on our way back to England last week.
Big Drop Brewing 0.5% Pale Ale
I’ve been focussing quite a lot on alcohol-free drinks recently so I headed along to the Mindful Drinking festival in Spitalfields yesterday where I discovered this brilliant range of low alcohol (0.5%) beers.
Vegetable Thali and Flying Dog Tire Bite Golden Ale
Where I live in Bristol we’re lucky to have an unusually good Indian restaurant called Thali Café, that sells sophisticated street food which you can take away in your own tiffin box. I’m addicted to the vegetable-based ‘Dairy Free Tiffin’ which is light, fresh and aromatic and was wondering what to drink with it when I picked up a bottle of Tire Bite Golden Ale from the excellent Flying Dog brewery.
Top wine and beer matches for game
We Brits have always had a reputation for liking our wines old and our game high but times have changed. Today the key factor in matching game tends to be not how ‘gamey’ it is but how it’s cooked and what is served with it.
Bacon, Isle of Mull cheddar and Thornbridge beer bread rolls
I don't normally run commercial recipes but this comes from an enterprising new cookbook from a brewery I really like called Thornbridge with recipes from chef Richard Smith.
What to drink with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's veggie recipes
If you’re used to choosing wine - or other drinks - to match with meat or fish you may be flummoxed when it comes to chosing one for vegetarian friends. But as I explain in my Guardian column today it’s a question of finding out how the wine is made - and in particular whether any animal-based products have been used in the fining process.
Duck and waffle and saison beer
Unusually this week’s match is speculative - an imagined pairing rather than an actual one.
Does craft beer suit posh food?
Despite many attempts to introduce beer lists in Michelin-starred restaurants, customers still don’t seem to want to drink it on a special occasion. Are they misguided or are restaurateurs wimping out?
Mushroom and Mustard soup
With the country blanketed by snow what else can you think of but soup? A favourite recipe from my book An Appetite for Ale that makes a great pairing with a dark, Trappist beer. You can decide how creamy you want it - my preference is to add just a dash to the soup then swirl a little in each bowl to decorate.
Coffee-infused pale ale and jalapeno cornbread
I’ve been making a policy recently of ordering good craft beer when it’s on offer instead of wine which is how I came across this stellar pairing at the newly opened Caravan restaurant in Kings Cross. (Terrific - I’ll tell you more shortly.)
Which wines and beers match best with Chinese food
With Chinese new year coming up this weekend you may be planning a trip to a Chinese restaurant or planning a Chinese meal at home. But which wine to serve?
Beers to match Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's Christmas alternatives to turkey
Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall proclaims firmly in The Guardian today that he won’t be serving turkey for lunch on Christmas Day so if he’s going to break with tradition why shouldn’t you? Bring on the beer!
Tuscan-style sausages and beans with Montepulciano
It’s been so busy the last few weeks that good pairings have been coming thick and fast but this was a great match I enjoyed at an offbeat new occasional restaurant which was launched by food and wine writer Marc Millon in Topsham, Devon the other day. (He’s also contributed a couple of pieces to this site including this wonderful piece about Bagna Cauda)
Barbecued Chicken with Yellow Mustard Sauce
If you fancy a proper US-style barbecue this weekend try this brilliantly easy recipe from chef Brad McDonald's book Deep South: New Southern Cooking
10 great beer and food matches for summer
We all know a beer goes down well with a ploughmans and that it’s a great drink to wash down a barbecue but here are 10 more unusual pairings which should liven up your summer drinking.
What to match with Christmas ham
A fair bit gets written - including by yours truly - about pairing wine with turkey but what type of drinks go best with the Christmas ham?
Steak and ale pie and horseradish mash with Domaine Tempier Bandol 1994
The great thing about going to old country pubs is that they tend to have wines you can’t find anywhere else - or certainly not at the price. Like the bottle of Domaine Tempier Bandol 1994 we found at the Nobody Inn in Doddiscombleigh in Devon at the weekend.
Summer ale cup
A cross between a Pimm’s and a shandy which I concocted a few year's ago for my son Will’s and my book An Appetite for Ale. You'll obviously need to play around with the proportions depending on the fruit cup and the beer you use
Chicken caesar salad and blonde ale
It’s so automatic to think of a wine match these days that one sometimes overlooks the fact that a beer will work just as well, if not better. So it is with that great restaurant favourite, chicken caesar salad.
Which beers to drink at Easter
You may find family and friends resistant to the idea of putting beer on the Easter table (though some will be secretly pleased) but stick to your guns.
Eggs Royale and St Austell Clouded Yellow wheat beer
I haven’t had a beer as match of the week for a while but with the British Guild of Beer Writers dinner and Dea Latis Beer and Breakfast tasting last week I could hardly have chosen anything else.
Sometimes a good story is all it takes to make you buy a bottle and who could resist a beer that makes use of food waste - unused bread in the case of Toast?
Wine, beer or cocktails - what’s the best match for a 4th July barbecue?
If you’re celebrating July 4th this week and haven’t yet made up your mind what to drink here are some last minute suggestions.
Craft beer and BBQ
Although I regularly recommend wines to pair with barbecue - most recently in my Guardian column - I’m actually an equal fan of beer. In fact I think many types of barbecue work better with it.
What to drink with Scandinavian food
If culture and ‘terroir’ are a basis for deciding which drinks bestmatch a particular cuisine then beer must have a strong claim to bepaired with Scandinavian food.
Steak pie and strong ale
There’s a distinct nip in the air this week that makes makes me suddenly feel much less like eating summery food. Last night we went round to friends and shared some absolutely awesome steak pies they’d brought back from a butcher called Murray Mitchell in St Andrews in Scotland (they will send them by mail order in the UK apparently if you ring them on 01334 474465).
Best beers for Christmas
How many of you will be putting beer on the table at Christmas? Not that many, I suspect, but if you can bring yourself to break with tradition you could be in for a treat. Most supermarkets now carry a sufficiently wide range for you to be able to serve a different beer with each course, should you be so minded. And here’s how to do it:
Haggis and Westmalle Dubbel
If you’re going to or hosting a Burns’ Night dinner tonight and want to create a bit of a stir, crack open a bottle of Westmalle Dubbel, a classic Belgian Trappist ale that is still made by monks at the monastery of Westmalle. You could of course drink a Scottish beer - there are plenty of good ones - but haggis to my mind needs a bit of roundness, sweetness and strength, qualities you find more often in Belgian than British beers.
Gladstone Pinot Noir and hare royale
My match of the week has to include Gladstone Pinot Noir from Wairarapa in New Zealand which featured in two unexpectedly good pairings at two different restaurants.
Spiced parsnip soup with Harviestoun Bitter and Twisted
Although I’ve tasted some good wines this week it’s beer that has provided the highlights. The Magic Rock Rapture amber ale I drank at The Pint Shop in Cambridge with their awesome beer brined chicken was pretty good but it’s pipped into the ‘drink of the week’ slot by this pairing at The Hole in the Wall in Little Wilbraham
Chilli con carne and American brown ale
If you’re lighting a few fireworks for the kids (or yourselves, of course . . . ) tonight and hanging round in the cold you’ll need some warming food and a good chilli hits the spot perfectly
Beer vs wine: experiments with cheddar
The other evening I had an interesting session with a few food bloggers matching Davidstow cheddar for which I’d been asked to come up with some drink pairings*. My task was to talk about the wine. The company’s Head Grader Mark Pitts-Tucker brought along a couple of Cornish ales - Sharp’s Doombar and St Austell Tribute.
Runaway American Brown Ale and chicken poutine
Last week I was in Manchester for lunch at the new Hawksmoor, a restaurant I can hardly review given it’s one of my son Will’s.
Strong ale and haggis
This week’s match is a predictive one rather than one I’ve recently experienced as I’ve been invited to a Burn’s Night dinner tomorrow night by the quirky Brewdog brewery and don’t yet know what the outcome will be.
Cecina, potato and kale soup and Chateau Montus Madiran
The idea of matching a soup with a full-bodied south-western French red wine might seem bizarre but it proved a surprisingly good pairing.
What to drink with chicken wings (and your other Superbowl snacks)
Let’s face it a well-honed wine pairing probably isn’t top priority on Superbowl night but there’s no reason why you can’t sip something delicious as you’re nervously nibbling your chicken wings (or your nails).
Salmon burgers with goats cheese and sundried tomatoes
Burgers don't have to be beefy as these delicious salmon burgers from my book An Appetite for Ale prove, inspired by browsing the aisles of the Wholefoods market in Denver during the Great American Beer Festival a few years back!
Moncada Brewery Notting Hill Red
This week I took part in a fun new way of discovering beer: Beer Bods live Twitter tastings and this was the beer we tried this week.
Lamb tagine with a chorizo-infused beer
It’s unusual for me to have two consecutive beer pairings as my match of the week but not surprising given that this week’s comes from an excellent beer dinner at The Bull, Highgate to mark the launch of Canadian beer and food expert Stephen Beaumont’s Beer and Food Companion
Wine and beer matches for Mexican food
Mark Hix may have been knocking back the tequila on his recent trip to Mexico but if you’re not made of such stern stuff try my alternative suggestions for his Mexican-inspired recipes in the Independent today.
Nick Strangeway's 'Disco Badger'
Despite the naff name I love the sound of this refreshing orangey beer cocktail created by legendary mixologist Nick Strangeway for Badger Ales. Great presentation too!
The Durham Brewery White Stout
I had a conversation on Twitter before Christmas with Elly from The Durham Brewery about whether there was a perfect beer for Christmas pudding.
Roast lamb with a Douro red
Yesterday we had the family round for lunch and served a 2002 Douro red from Portugal with the main course of spice-crusted roast lamb with garlic and rosemary, roast potatoes (my youngest son managed to put away 15 but remains, annoyingly, as skinny as a rake) and in-season purple sprouting broccoli.
Smørrebrød and a Sonoma County Sylvaner
I’ll be focussing on some of the more conventional wine pairings I came across during my recent visit to Napa and Sonoma later this week but here’s a really off-the-wall match I encountered in San Francisco
Chocolate and roasted Oolong tea
The most interesting meal I had last week was undoubtedly at Viajante, an innovative new restaurant in what used to be Bethnal Green town hall. You can see my full review on decanter.com but I just wanted to write a bit more about the pairings.
Is wine the best partner for pie?
We Brits don't need much encouragement to eat pies. But which is the better match - wine or beer?
6 of the best matches for fish and chips
Now that fish and chips can found in every posh fish restaurant, wine has become as popular a pairing as a nice cup of builders' tea (good though that is). But which one?
Ideas for a beer and game menu
I've been invited to a game dinner at Brown's hotel in Mayfair next week at which every course is matched with a beer or a perry. I can't make it but thought you'd be interested in the pairings (my notes in italics):
Couscous and Languedoc rosé
It's funny how your attitude to food and wine matching changes when you visit a wine-producing area like the Languedoc which is where I've been for the past few days. You tend to drink the local wine because it's what the locals drink. It may not be the best match but it doesn't really matter, particularly at lunchtime when you want something light.