Fish & Seafood
Fish tacos are not only delicious but they are extremely versatile with unlimited recipes and combinations for beer pairings.
Typical toppings include guacamole or coleslaw, cilantro, a mild, medium, or spicy salsa, avocado and a freshly sliced lime served on a hard corn shell or a soft flour tortilla. There are many types of fish in the sea, feel free to experiment and try as many as you can, either fried or grilled!
Grilled fish can provide a delicious char taste to a light tasting taco. Try pairing the roasted flavour of the grilled fish with an amber ale. Depending on your heat tolerance you might want to go bold with a spicier salsa. Make sure to select a hop-heavy IPA to really accentuate the spices without becoming overwhelming. The citrusy hop flavours will add a touch of sweetness to your meal, as well.
Deciding to fry your fish opens up more possibilities for your beer pairing, because how delicious does a beer-battered fish taco sound? Whether you are using it in the batter or pairing it with the meal, two good options are a citrusy wheat beer or a traditional cerveza. The floral notes of a wheat beer will add its own flavour to your taco and will match very nicely with a freshly squeezed lime. Pairing your tacos with a cerveza will allow the beer to cut through the fried batter and act as a palate cleanser, making your next bite just as good as your first.
A lobster bake makes a perfect summertime meal. Lobster is a succulent dish that has prominent flavours but it should be paired with a beer that doesn’t overpower its freshness.
Belgian witbiers or hefeweizens pair best with lobster. Both these styles of beer are able to match and enhance the flavours of a traditional lobster meal. As lobster is normally served with a squeeze of lemon, these beers contain citrus notes which add to the citrus quality of the dish.
Pilsners, more specifically German-style pilsners, pair well with lobster. The crisp beer is able to stand up to the flavours of the lobster. Pilsners are able to cleanse the palette without taking away from the fresh flavours of shellfish.
An IPA also makes a good match with lobster. The hoppy characteristics of an IPA are able to cut through the oily butter that is typically served with lobster as well as stand up to the meaty texture without overpowering the flavours.
Shellfish such as crab or clams pair best with a hefeweizen. The lighter style of the beer and citrus notes match the light dish and enhance the sweet flavours. Mussels are best paired with wheat beers. The earthy tone of wheat beers compare well with the slightly stronger flavours of mussels while enhancing the unique texture. Porters or stouts pair well with oysters. The strong salty flavour of oysters needs to be matched with a strong beer that can stand up to the intense flavours.
Salmon is a versatile dish that can be prepared in a variety of ways. The different preparation methods allow for a range of flavours which call for different types of beer.
Cedar Plank Salmon
Cooking on wood planks combines both the flavours of grilling and smoking. When preparing cedar plank salmon, the fish easily absorbs the aroma of cedar giving it an earthy taste.
An India pale ale is the best suited pairing for cedar plank salmon. The piney notes and intense hop characteristic of an IPA complement the cedar aroma of the salmon. The earthy tones of the beer are able to match the smoky flavours that result from cooking on planks.
When grilling salmon, a pale ale or brown ale would be the best pair. The malt of the pale ale cuts through the high fat content of salmon and can stand up to the texture. The sweetness of a brown ale contrasts the char of the grill.
Glazed salmon is usually coated in a sweet and savoury sauce like teriyaki. An India pale ale would be best suited because it can cut through the fatty oils of the salmon and rich flavour of the glaze while the hops enhance its spices.
Smoked salmon has a distinct flavour that would pair best with a porter. Normally it is not recommended to pair a heavy beer such as a porter with a lighter dish like seafood, but smoked salmon has an intense aroma that can match the dark beer. The roasted flavour of a porter compares with the smokiness of the salmon.
Ginger is commonly used during a sushi meal to cleanse the palette between courses. Hops ingredients contained in beer act similarly to the compounds in ginger, making it another great way to cleanse the palette and optimize the sushi experience.
Beers with lower alcohol content are recommended with any sushi dish. When pairing beer and sushi, typically Japanese rice beers are served. However, witbiers, often referred to as white beers, better complement the delicate texture of raw fish. The citrus flavour accentuates the freshness and salinity of sushi and cuts through its creamy, buttery flavours. White beers are light enough as to not overpower the subtle flavours of sushi.
Pilsners and light ales, or India pale ales can also be paired with sushi. The bitterness and hoppy taste of pilsners and light ales contrast the aroma of sushi and highlights the sweet and savoury flavour of the dish. India pale ales have slightly spicy notes that play well against the spiciness of wasabi and raw fish high in fat.