Tag Archives: Beer pairing

Let’s Talk….About The Temperature Of Your Beer by Ginger Johnson

Ginger 2121Much to the contrary of an overwhelming popular belief, all beer should NOT be served Ice Cold. Just as you wouldn’t serve a fresh garden tomato cold because it kills the ethereal flavor of that tomato, serving many beers too cold is a detriment to your flavor opportunity.

When I see those signs or references in books to serving beer ‘ice cold’ I *cringe*! That poor beer, being super chilled so very little flavor is even detectable…what a shame!

Serving all beer cold is not the right thing, just as serving all beers warm isn’t the idea either. Some beers are best very chilly, some room temp, some in between. Find the Goldilocks – juuuuust right! Learning about beer and how temperature affects it is fun and helpful.

All beer should be stored cold, though not below freezing of course. Beer is a living organism. A large majority of beer brewed and served in America are unpasteurized: they’ve not been heat treated to sanitize the container and therefore killed the precious hard working yeast that helps give us beer. Here’s a good explanation by an industry authority.

Let’s run through a few beer + temperature concerns:

Ginger J1. Buying Beer. Optimally the beer you buy should have been kept cold from the time it was packaged and left the original brewery until it gets to you. Brewery, distributor and importer, retailer, and then you. Those retail outlets that don’t make the commitment to storing all their beer cold should be questioned. Would they leave the sour cream out? No – it’s the same concept. It’s alive, keep it cool. Quality begins to degrade when beer is left to a non-refrigerated environment and therefore flavor, oxidation, and all other nature of enemies start accelerated quality decline.

2. Storing Beer. Beer should be kept cold once you purchase it. Store it upright in a no light situation (UV from fluorescent as well as sunshine changes a chemical compound in hops in your beer, thereby ‘skunking’ it. Kegs, bottles, cans, growlers – all of them. Keep it at a normal fridge temp, being mindful that when you choose to serve certain beers letting some styles and flavors warm up a bit will greatly enhance the flavors.

3. Drinking Beer. There are literally dozens of beer styles – I like to explain that style indicates different flavor characteristics common in each particular style. While the rules aren’t absolutely hard and fast, there are guidelines to help you find the flavors you desire, hence beer styles. Here’s a very good resource on explaining beer styles to find flavors you wish to enjoy.  I’d encourage you to try different styles at various temperatures so see where you fully enjoy a particular kind of beer. It’s remarkably revelatory to taste beer at different temperatures.

Ginger JBearing in mind that temperature has both flavor and quality affects on your beer is something not everyone considers – and should. Once you start to think about this idea of ‘good health’ for your beer by watching temperature factors, it’ll give you a fresh perspective. And it’ll give that beloved beer the best opportunity to make you and your many taste buds happy.

Cheers til the next time –

g

Pairing Suggestion: Beer is infinitely versatile so this week simply try different beers, at different temperatures with different foods. If your Growers or Farmers market allows the sale of beer, buy some there on your next visit. Support your local brewery, just as you support your local farmers.

Event: Make up your own beer temperature event! Invite friends over, everyone bringing a different beer. Set out plenty of glassware, say 4 each (real glass – not plastic since that changes the flavor). Pour a portion of each person’s beer into the 4 glasses. Set a timer for 5 minutes. As soon as you set it, sip and taste the first pour, noting how it tastes, the carbonation of a fresh pour and so forth. When the 5 minutes goes off, taste the next one and so on until you’re out of that one beer. What did you notice? How did the flavors change, what happened with the carbonation and the foam of the beer?

Serving all beer cold is not the right thing, just as serving all beers warm isn’t the idea either. Some beers are best very chilly, some room temp, some in between. Find the Goldilocks – juuuuust right! Learning about beer and how temperature affects it is fun and helpful.

If you have questions about the beer industry, food pairings, speaking engagements and events, you can find Ginger at WomenEnjoyingBeer.com or Ginger@WomenEnjoyingBeer.com

Raise a Glass with Ginger; Cherries, Apricots and Beer

P1090790 (2)Repeat after me: Mmmmmmm. Aaaaahhhhhhh. Ooooooooo. 

Cherries and Apricots are great friends of beer. Yes, you heard it here, folks. Fruit is a terrific partner with beer. Beer and fruit share a few characteristics.

  1. As they age the flavors change.
  2. There’s a tremendous variety of both.
  3. As ingredients, beer and fruit have much to offer our taste buds. 

Since I love to cook in general, and with beer in particular, here are a few ideas in using beer as an ingredients with these lovely fruits.

  1. Several Lambic style beers are made with whole fruit or fruit puree. Lindemans, a widely available brand of Lambic beer, offer a range of flavors with which to pair the fruit: tart green apple, succulent peach, and crisp black currant among them. Use both the fruit and matching beer to make cobblers and coffee and breakfast cakes. Substitute thinner liquids for the beer, make a glaze or frosting with beer, and consider simply drizzling beer on top of a fresh baked goodie for a zip of flavor.
  2. P1090784 (2)Apricots have sweetness as well as an acidity that can be complemented well with beer. Choosing a moderate and malt forward beer, such as Ambers and Browns, will yield flavorful results. Pies are an ideal treat to make with beer, both sweet and savory. Use some of your chosen beer in the crust and soak bread for bread pudding in a lush beer. Yum! A porter would be delicious in that bread pudding, adding a totally new layer of flavor. Whipping some fresh cream with a touch of stout is a topper worthy of any chocolate goodies! 

Beer is an exceptional sauce ingredient as well. Cooking beer can and will dramatically change the flavor profile as compared to what the beer tasted like in your glass. Temperature has a major impact on the beer, taste wise and chemically, just as temperature has on fruit. Be mindful of what temperature can do and make notes as you use more beer in your cooking. Recording what you use, what you do, and other ingredients present will help you improve your results and avoid not-so-tasty attempts.

I’ve not exbeerimented much with beer in preserving foods like jams and pickles yet. Nonetheless, as an avid canner and preserver, it’s on my short list! I do know to only use reputable recipes in preserving foods, as you can have serious and deadly consequences unless you’re careful with the science and biology of preserving. And for now, I’ll enjoy the canned and preserved goodies I’ve made, post maturation, with fresh beer and other foods.

P1100379One of the many great things about beer and food together and cooking with beer is that you can then enjoy the beer in the glass and on the plate. It’s a double whammy for your palate. And one I frequently practice solo as well as with family and friends. Moderation is the ultimate principle in all food and beverage consumption.

Since Mom’s day is this weekend, what a perfect reason to put that apron on, get into the kitchen, and whip up a fun and tasty recipe with beer for the Mom in your life.

Shop for fruit to your hearts content, procure the beer you want to try, and lap it all up. Beer and food. Two of my favorite things in life, brought to life to help us celebrate home.

Cheers ~

Events: Seattle Beer Week – save the dates to savor the flavors! May 10 – 19, 2013

Use both the fruit and matching beer to make cobblers and coffee and breakfast cakes. Substitute thinner liquids for the beer, make a glaze or frosting with beer, and consider simply drizzling beer on top of a fresh baked goodie for a zip of flavor.

If you have questions about the beer industry, food pairings, speaking engagements and events, you can find Ginger at WomenEnjoyingBeer.com or Ginger@WomenEnjoyingBeer.com

Author:  Ginger Johnson