Beer, by itself, is a great thing, right? But recently the art of pairing beer and food has seized the kitchen. No longer is wine thought to be the sole companion of good food. How does it work? For starters, beer’s ingredients make it super versatile. Barley malt, roasted from pale gold to pitch black, can lend fruitiness, sweetness, bready flavors, even notes of coffee, chocolate, and soy-like umami. Hops provide bitterness and aromas (from pine tree to orange peel) that are a major part of the beer’s overall flavor. Yeasts add spice, aromas, aftertastes, acids, and of course help create the alcohol left behind during fermentation. Carbonation and grain tannins help “scrub” the palate. Take almost any food, and there’s a beer style that can match it. Baby back ribs with burnt orange glaze, anyone? How about buttermilk-fried oysters and kriek-braised pork sliders?
Enter the new, richly illustrated cookbook BEER BITES: Tasty Recipes and Perfect Pairings for Brew Lovers (Chronicle Books), out nationwide on 10/13/15, which is comprised of 65 recipes paired with 45 different beer styles, from IPA to saison, stout, and scores in between—even up-and-coming tart styles like American wild ale. The recipes are designed to be easily managed by home cooks, but smartly elevate usual pub grub fare with clever culinary accents and party-friendly presentations. All ingredients (and beer styles) are all available in better grocery stores and bottle shops, and the book is anything but intimidating. Instead, think of it as a step-by-step house party in the making. The authors (Weekly Pint Editorial Director Christian DeBenedetti, and veteran recipe developer Andrea Slonecker) spent four straight months in 2014 testing dishes with hundreds of beers. The result: a mouth-watering array from “Day-Glo Deviled Eggs” (paired with Belgian pale ale) to “Wok-Fired Chile Crab (American-style IPA), “Carbonade Hand Pies” (Flanders brown ale), and those baby backs (quadrupel). With foreword by chief New York Times wine critic (and noted beer lover) Eric Asimov. Hungry yet? Pre-order this enticing new cookbook ($24.95) today: Chronicle Books; Amazon.com; Apple iBooks; Barnes & Noble.