We've had food and beer pairings on the brain, and it's the perfect season to start experimenting. While we delve further into the three C's of pairing food (the first being complement), now we'll tackle contrast.
When contrasting a beer with a particular food, you’re looking for opposing flavors and aromas. These are flavors that are, in essence, opposites. Take the flavors of sweet and sour -- on their own, sweet and sour can both be overwhelming. Sour can pucker and create imbalance in certain tastes, whereas sweet, oftentimes overbearing and cloying, covers up more subtle flavors. But together, they balance each other out and create a new unique taste experience. As the old saying goes, opposites attract. And when they do, they add up to a complete and delicious pairing.
There is really no better classic pairing than a Dry Irish Stout paired with fresh, raw oysters. The roasted, chocolate bitterness of the stout contrasts perfectly with the briny, sweetness of the oysters. The pairing is so classic that breweries today brew their stouts with actual oysters or oyster shells.
While the Dry Irish Stout is the classic go-to for oysters, we enjoy an unexpected beer with ours -- a Belgian style Witbier. The Witbier is a great contrast to the oysters, while also being a complement. The subtle citrus and spice from the addition of orange peel and coriander contrasts the briny, savory, almost metallic flavors of fresh oysters. Plus, the beer's mild sweetness and fruitiness contrasts with the sour of your typical oyster condiments, such as lemon juice or mignonette. While there's plenty of contrast in the pairing, the fruity flavors and smooth, silk-like texture of the beer mimics the creamy, melon flavors in Pacific oysters, adding a complimentary element to the pairing. Some of our favorites include Allagash White or Telegraph White Ale or brew your own with Summer Wheat or Grapefruit Honey Ale.