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Let’s learn what to pair wild and sour beers with.

Starting June 19th to the 25th, Bittercreek Alehouse will kick off Funk Fest, an annual tradition celebrating wild and sour beers. We recently learned about the flavors of our funk fest beers, but we all know you can’t have beer without some food to go along with it. So, let’s learn what to pair food with.

Basic Food Pairing

When pairing food and beer, it is typical to consider three factors:

1. Intensity – how big of an impact does the beer make on your palate?
2. Complementary vs. contrasting flavors – what flavors match the beer, what flavors pleasantly contrast with beer? (Not all contrast are good)
3. How does beer affect your palate? How does that relate to the food? Here is how to think of these in the context of Funky beers.

1. Impact

Some funky beers are high impact on the palate, (think of sour beers that take the enamel off your teeth) while others are low impact. In each case, the beer should be paired to a food that matches that intensity so neither overpowers.

2. Complementary vs Contrasting flavors

This one seems simple, but while it is easy to think about, it takes practice to execute well. Like flavors can be a great pairing and sometimes obvious, like a cherry beer with cherry pie. The most exciting pairings, however, normally are in finding beer/food combos with harmonious flavors, but contrasting elements, a good example would be something sweet paired with something sour.

3. How the palate is affected

There are a lot of ways that beer can affect your palate, like coating it with sugar. Funky Beers normally don’t do that, which is part of why we like them so much. Funky beers are usually high in acid, low in sugar, and very carbonated. The upshot is that Funky Beers can be powerful tools for making a culinary experience more dynamic. For example, carbonation and acid both have the effect of scrubbing the palate. Imagine the tiny bubbles pushing fat and or sugars off your tongue. Acid has a similar effect. It cuts fat and counterpoints sweetness. Acid can also be used to combat spicy foods because of the way it strips spice carrying oils.

So now that you’re a food pairing genius, let’s take a look at some types of beers we’ll be offering and things we would recommend pairing them with on our menu, so you can get the full funk fest experience.

What’s Available?

Flanders Red
Origins: Belgium
Looks like: Ruby to deep red/burgundy end of the spectrum
Tastes like: Plum, prune, raisin and raspberry are the most common flavors, followed by orange and some spiciness. The sour or acidic taste can range from moderate to strong.
Pairs With: Salmon & Caesar, Smoked Trout Salad
Available Beers: Rodenbach Classic

Origins: Belgium
Looks like: Pale Yellow/Golden to Deep Brown
Tastes like: Sour · Hints of Earthy Notes · Mild Fruit and Citrus
Pairs With: Coconut Lime Tart
Available Beers: Lindemens Cuvee Rene

Origins: Belgium
Looks like: Light and hazy Pale Yellow
Tastes like: Sour · citrus fruits (lemon, orange) and a slightly spicy, floral, earthy fruity hop character.
Pairs With: French Fries, Salmon Caesar, Polenta Fries
Available Beers: 2019 Firestone Walker Napa Saison, Monkless Samaritans Saison, Saison Du Pont

Gueuze or Gueuze
Origins: Belgium
Looks like: Golden in color. Clarity is excellent (unless the bottle was shaken)
Tastes like: Dry, cider-like, musty, barnyard-like , sour, acetic acid, lactic acid
Pairs With: Trout Salad, Fish and Chips
Available Beers: Tilquin Oude Gueuze

Origins: Belgium
Looks like: Deep red color; purplish-pink head
Tastes like: Bouquet of freshly harvested cherries; sparkling, smooth, fruity and refreshing, finishing semi-dry, vaguely sour
Pairs With: Butterscotch and Beignets
Available Beers: 2019 Double Mountain Tahoma Kriek

Origins: Germany
Looks like: Straw to medium amber
Tastes like: A lemon sourness, a herbal characteristic,Spice notes (most commonly coriander), and a strong saltiness
Pairs With: Fish and Chips
Available Beers: Leipziger Pineus Gose

Barrel Aged Sours
Origins: U.S.A
Looks like: Varies
Tastes like: Bourbon, rum, brandy, or even tequila depending on the barrel, oak barrels also contribute pleasant flavor compounds, such as vanillin (vanilla) and lactone (a sweet, coconut flavor)
Pairs With: Fish and Chips, Cheese Curds, Salmon Caesar
Available Beers: Cascade Petite Cranberry

Kettle Sours
Origins: U.S.A
Looks like: Varies
Tastes like: Dense, bitter flavor, often enhanced by fruity notes like blueberry, blackberry, vanilla, and lactose
Pairs With: Spicy Lamb Burger, Anchor Bar Wings
Available Beers: Odell Sippin Pretty, Payette Aura, Woodland Empire Peach Party

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