There’s always a certain level of etiquette when it comes to dining, from placement of glassware and plates to particular table manners. In the realm of food pairing, it gets even more complex as it engages more senses than just taste. But when you’re armed with nothing more than just a basic knowledge of what you like (and dislike), will one be able to pull off a successful beer pairing attempt? Embarking on a mini road trip to two of Foodpanda’s vendors, schooled us in a self-learning journey of what should go with your plate – and what should stay well away.
Beer Pairing n°1 – My Art Space Café
As My Art Space Café is a picturesque glass café that allows you to quite literally watch the world go by, we settled for a table right by the window. We decided on getting brunch and test if a typical breakfast-type dish would go well with a frosty pint. We started with grilled smoked duck salad, and then had smoked salmon with scrambled eggs on toasted breakfast muffin, finally ending with a chocolate brownie and vanilla ice cream.
Mac’s Great White Cloudy Wheat beer
The moment we laid eyes on the bottle, we were a little smitten, as the packaging catches your attention almost instantly, with a sweet-to-savoury scale on its side to let consumers know just how light or heavy the beer is. This one hits the mid-mark at 4 (on a scale from 1 to 7). The New Zealand label’s interpretation of a classic Belgian Witbier is smooth, gradually opening up to a bright, cleansing feel mid-taste and finishes with very little bitterness.
With smoked duck salad: The beer brings out the acidity of the salad’s vinaigrette, while the savoury aspect of the smoked duck actually boosts the ‘maltiness’ of the beer. The overall impression is a rich yet balanced mouthfeel, making it a great lunch combination if you want a little booze for that mid-day pick-me-up.
With salmon with scrambled eggs on toasted breakfast muffin: This could be a hit or miss, depending on how much a fan of salmon you are. Fortunately for us, we absolutely adore this protein, and appreciated how the beer brought out the fishiness! Needless to say, it made the dish feel more fatty, but in a good way.
Peroni Nastro Azzurro
This is a fairly common beer, but one that we haven’t had the chance to really experiment with till now. It’s slightly hoppy, with a mineral end – which we actually like as it cleans the palate well.
With smoked duck salad: This match doesn’t benefit nor does it subtract anything from either food or drink. We wouldn’t say it’s an unsuitable pairing, but in our opinion it certainly didn’t do much to enhance the relationship between the two. The smoked duck still came through strong enough, while the beer managed to stand on its own even with such a flavourful meat.
With salmon with scrambled eggs on toasted breakfast muffin: Woah, nelly! We’re a huge fan of eggs (done any way), and little did we expect the beer to bring out that potent egg-y aroma that we’re not sure everyone will appreciate. The smoked salmon was also pronounced on the finishing note, taking this simple brunch dish to a whole new level! Great if you’re a fan of big flavours, not so much if you like to stick to the mild life.
With chocolate brownie and vanilla ice cream: Dark chocolate fans will rejoice in this pairing because this is one way to magically up the cocoa content in terms of bitterness. Once again, we love this because we wouldn’t have chocolate any other way (yes, we’re huge fans of some pretty intense flavours!). The dessert is made way better because the vanilla ice cream provides a sweet respite and the brownie adds just the right amount of bitterness with some help from the beer.
Magner’s Original Cider
We’re already fans of this, so we could possibly be biased here. There’s nothing better than sipping a crisp, refreshing pint of cider on a warm and humid afternoon – which is basically describing a typical mid-day weather situation in Singapore. It’s adequately full-bodied and not too sweet, which makes it a great match for even savoury dishes.
With smoked duck salad: This was a phenomenal pairing! It was a sweet-savoury harmony with the smoked duck, while the acidity of the mandarins in the salad wasn’t watered down at all. The vinaigrette still managed to hold up against the cider, and everything finished on a very full, satisfying note.
With salmon with scrambled eggs on toasted breakfast muffin: Another win! If you’re looking for an ideal brunch accompaniment that includes booze, look to Magner’s. The texture of the salmon was velvety on the tongue, as its flavours coated the palate. In fact the cider assisted in neutralising a bit of the fishiness, which doesn’t hurt.
With chocolate brownie and vanilla ice cream: Looking to adult-ify a simple brownie recipe? Add Magner’s – now we know better. It remains sweet (but not cloyingly), has an acidic edge and is even a tad sour. All these subtle flavours are great when it comes to adding new dimensions to an otherwise run-of-the-mill dessert, so we will definitely try this combination again.
Beer Pairing n°2 – Alt Pizza
Alt Pizza has several outlets, and is raved for its pizza creations, their high quality ingredients and diners’ ability to create their own pizzas. What sets this place apart from other pizza palaces, is their impressive list of craft beers – even on tap! With one pie that will prove to be quite the challenge – we picked a truffle one for a good reason – we set out to see how two different craft beers stood against it.
Lost Coast Draught Beers Tangerine Wheat
The bottle is popping with bright colours to match its honey-hued liquid within and combines the use of Lost Coast Harvest Wheat with natural tangerine flavours. It definitely has an orange-esque aroma, and is crisp when first sipped, then the malt kicks in and finishes off smoothly.
With Truffle Shuffle (with white sauce, parmesan, mozzarella, white truffle oil, roasted mushrooms and onions and fennel sausage): There’s an amazing freshness that comes with a hearty chug of this beer after a slice of a truffle pizza. It balances out the heaviness that comes with such potent ingredients like sausage and truffle. It also elevates the onions to an almost caramel-like flavour, which is an easy win in our books!
Kona Big Wave Golden Ale
Under the Kona name, Big Wave is made to be a lighter-bodied golden ale with a tropical hop aroma and flavour, resulting in a smooth, easy drinking refreshing ale. The use of caramel malt contributes to its golden hue and their special blend of hops provides a bright quenching finish. We tasted tangy, sourness that ends with a sweet note – a truly holistic flavour trip, if you ask us! On its official site, it suggests that the beer be paired with seafood, poultry and lighter dishes like salads. Let’s see how it stands against a bold truffle pizza!
With Truffle Shuffle (with white sauce, parmesan, mozzarella, white truffle oil, roasted mushrooms and onions and fennel sausage): To our surprise, it actually does a decent job of providing a cleansing feeling to the palate. Hard to really describe, but it tastes sort of organic, with a mineral end. We’re not sure if that’s a good thing, but we can appreciate how it feels when we put the two together. All in all, it’s actually a pretty decent complement because the truffle doesn’t overwhelm the beer, which is always a tricky thing when it comes to most things with truffle.
Wani’s writing has always spoken on her behalf far more than the spoken word. Her emotional relationship with food is almost as intense as her crazy love for HIIT workouts. Having written all things lifestyle, Wani now embarks on her freelance journey, journalling her epicurean trails and sweaty gym sessions with relentless fervor.