Beer and food pairing – where did it go wrong?!

Beer, being the hottest topic anywhere these days, has been regaining its rightful position at the dinner table. Gone are the days where beer, as a companion of food, was seen only fit to accompany a curry or fish and chips: beer is now even being embraced by three Michelin star restaurants. But even today some people seem impervious to properly combining beer and food – let’s learn from some of the most horrific mistakes ever made.

No. That's not the way, no.

No. That’s not the way, no.

As I hate to miss out on a great deal, my mailbox tends to overflow with Groupon, Deals, Super deals and fantastic offers on just about anything. Groupon hit me right between the eyes with ‘A beer tasting including bites – for two or more’. It turned out to be a Haarlem based bar making the offer: in their own words, “Drinking five different beers by Brand Brewery, nibbling on a small nut and a small piece of cheese, cosiness reigns in this mid-Haarlem café.” I swear that’s what it said: “nibbling on a small nut and a small piece of cheese.” These people need to be locked away, for good, disregarding the fact the price is great: only € 11,99 for five beers and four small nuts (or other nibbles) – for two people! How desperate are you, when you set pricing like this (Groupon takes a fee out of these twelve measly euro’s too you know), giving a 50% discount on a beer and “food” pairing?

Pretty desperate, as it also listed the tasting program: starting with Brand Weizen in combination with a Haarlem Beer Sausage, after which we taste Brand Up paired with charcuterie, Pilsner with a cheese platter, Imperator with a bowl of peanuts – finishing with a Brand seasonal beer, on it’s own. Bearing in mind the beers come in 15 cl tasters the deal is not so bad – but the pairings suggest these people haven’t even tried fish and chips yet.

No. No. You don't get it, do you?

No. No. You don’t get it, do you?

And just when you think life cannot possibly get any worse, it suddenly does: Amsterdam Bar Mowgli offers a ‘High Beer’, for € 18,99 per person (€ 39 originally). WTF is High Beer?! Non-British people do not even know the fundamental difference between High Tea (a fairly substantial meal that includes tea and is served in the late afternoon or early evening, mainly for workers) and Afternoon Tea: the upper classes would enjoy this simply between meals, when the workers were still working. As it turns out, High Beer is really modelled after Afternoon Tea: small nibbles, served with beer – all but a substantial meal. Trust the Dutch to misunderstand traditions.

Now that's it!

Now that’s it!

But the worst is yet to come: the nibbles served at this High Beer is a so-called ‘borrelplateau’, or snacks platter – and the Dutch cuisine has not exactly a reputation to lose when it comes to its snacks. Mowgli offers three beers with 4 ‘bitterballen’, 4 ‘vlammetjes’ and 4 ‘samosa’s’ – for two. Just Google it to fully experience the horror.

And while you’re at it, google ‘high beer’ and see how far this disease has spread, and which wicked combinations can be made. Beer and food can be a great combination – as long as you stay away from Groupon and High Beer.

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