Enjoying a pint with a meal has been woven into the fabric of British society for centuries, but it wasn’t until the 1990s that matching the versatile and complementary flavours of beer to a range of different foods became popular and started to infiltrate the high-ground held by wine. Nowadays craft beer is a booming trend with more breweries per capita in the UK than anywhere else in the world – a trend that has been fuelled by small and independent American craft brewers who are widely credited with igniting the global craft beer movement.
Much of British cuisine lends itself to beer – think hearty winter stews, casseroles, pies, Ploughman’s, steaks, ribs and burgers. Restaurants and pubs are innovating with beer and food pairings and exploring the huge range of flavours beer has to offer, but will it ever usurp wine at the dinner table? The answer lies across the Atlantic.
In America, beer and food pairing is a sophisticated, highly developed art form involving culinary skill and brewing expertise. It is also uniquely collaborative with small brewers working together with independent suppliers from the local community. Five-course beer and food pairing menus are commonplace and nearly all establishments from basic bars and diners through to white tablecloth restaurants offer an extensive beer list alongside menu suggestions. Special beer and food pairing events attract interest from all over the world.