TASTE Spring 2023

by James Nevison

…with the ample amount of passion and art going into brewing, local craft beer has certainly amped up the fun of pairing beer and food…

T here’s a beer for each season, not to mention a beer for every meal. And given how the months are marking a transition back to warmer weather and longer daylight hours, the time feels right to explore options for marrying brighter beer styles with lighter fare. Besides with the ample amount of passion and art going into brewing, local craft beer has certainly amped up the fun of pairing beer and food, allowing nuanced consideration. Generally speaking, the strategies for choosing a beer to go with a meal are similar to wine—to either match or contrast the brew with what’s in the bowl. This goes for aromas, flavours and even textural elements. With this in mind, here are some themes worth considering for sprightly springtime pairings. Pale Ale & Spot Prawns There’s something enticing about cracking open a crisp pale ale to enjoy on a crisp spring evening. This experience

Kölsch & Herby Chicken

and crisp hop notes, Strange Fellows Talisman Ale calls for a classic, garlic butter and lemon prawn preparation. On the other hand, a more juicy, hazy and tropical fruited pale ale such as Dat Juice from Port Moody’s Twin Sails saddles up nicely to more outsized flavours: think lemongrass, basil, even a hint of chili pepper. In this case, the crisp and hoppy pale ale backbone will ably contrast the natural sweetness and richness of the prawns. Pilsner & Spring Vegetable Risotto Nothing screams springtime like the welcome arrival of the year’s first vegetables. From peas to asparagus and all the bitter greens in between, there’s inspiration awaiting in this first crop. Sounds like the perfect opportunity for risotto, using whatever fresh vegetables hit the kitchen! This also sounds like the right time to bring out the pilsner. While risotto is anything but dense, it is certainly rich and decadent. A clean, crisp and bitter, bottom-fermented lager pairs perfectly. For a bit of a twist, Steel & Oak Brewing Co. in New Westminster atypically brews their Red Pilsner with caramel malts. This provides the beer a striking copper colour and a hint of complementary sweetness that is great for marrying with sweet, sautéed spring vegetables.

In a sense Kölsch is an “in between” beer, so it’s not surprising it makes a suitable pick for shoulder season meals! Originating from the German city of Cologne, Kölsch is unique in that it’s warm fermented like an ale with top- fermenting yeast, then cold conditioned like a lager until the yeast settles out, leaving a crisp and clear brew. The result is both robust yet balanced. Revelstoke’s Mt. Begbie Brewing hits all the right notes with their High Country Kölsch, which at 4.5 percent ABV (alcohol by volume) and 12 IBU (International Bitterness Units) comes across light—almost delicate— but certainly refreshing. In truth, it’s an easy food-pairing beer all around, and in a nod to the beer’s homeland tradition and the season consider pairing with herby chicken, whether baked in a cream sauce or served on a bed of fresh spring herbs and greens. Lighter IPA & Fish Tacos Typical India pale ales (IPAs) can make for tricky food companions. This is particularly the case with the bold and intense side of the canon—think DIPA (Double India pale ale) and brash American IPA. Yet it is possible to put some spring in your sip and still embrace

is made even better paired with a plate of piping hot local shellfish!

Spot prawns have become a true springtime delicacy; there’s nothing like heading down to the wharf to get in on the first catch. Spot prawns also pair wonderfully with pale ale, thanks largely to the flavourful diversity of both. One example, thanks to classic citrus



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