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Have you switched to a healthier vegetarian fare but wonder which beer goes best with your new diet? Most people easily assume that beer at the table can only go down well with meat dishes. Beer and meat pairings are gaining popularity at a fast rate, leaving out vegetarians who love the occasional pint.
You have a wide range of beer options to explore. While the canned or bottled beer in your fridge might be your natural choice, you could try more flavourful draught beer. You can easily set up a beer dispenser at home with a rig that comes complete with CO2 cylinder canister bottles. Beer enthusiasts say draught beer has more intense flavours, good for pairing with meals.
Here are some tips on exploring beer and vegetarian pairs:
Pairing Contrasting Flavours
Contrasting pairs give a range of flavours that can make your meal feel more adventurous. A beer with intense flavours pairs well with sweet flavoured foods. The competing flavours will grab your palate wonderfully. For example, a pale lager mixes well with garlic vegetarian kebabs.
Pairing Complementing Flavours
Complementing flavours double up to feel more intense on the palate. For example, pairing sweet flavoured foods with smooth malty lagers brings out the sweeter food flavours more strongly. Beers with higher hops content go well with foods with sharp flavours.
You are not restricted to contrasting or complementing pairs. You can take it as an exploratory journey. There are hundreds of beer brands spread out across the spectrum of flavours, from smooth malts to strong and bitter stouts. You can also cook with beer after you have mustered the flavours.
Here are some beer and vegetarian dishes to start you off:
Potato Fries (Frites)
Pairs with Blond ales, lagers and Oktoberfest style beers
They may be unhealthy in large quantities, but potato fries are a huge favourite for many people. Vegan and non-vegan alike. They have a light flavour which tastes better with a dash of salt. A bit of ketchup or other tangy sauce adds to the range of flavours. Fries pair well with ales or lagers which cleanse the palate.
Pairs with Dark or Pale ales
Cheese dishes and snacks pair well with almost all beers. Cheddar cheese pairs well with bitter IPAs, while a grilled cheese sandwich goes down well with a Pale ale. Cheese with strong flavour, like goat or blue cheese pairs well with slightly bitter ales or dark lagers. Cheese and beer pairs are underrated. The carbon in the beer tones down the acidity of the cheese and cleanses the palate off the fatty flavours. You can also try these beers with vegetarian pizza.
Pairs with Indian Pale ales and Hoppy Lagers
This popular Indian rice dish presents a spectrum of flavours from assorted herbs and spices. You can opt for an Indian pale ale, with its cleansing effect, which makes every new bite a new experience. If you would like to intensify the flavours, go for a hoppy Lager.
Pairs with Dark ales and Stouts
Legume dishes like beans, chicken peas, and pulses are favourites for rich vegan flavours. They pack intense flavours as well, especially with a dash of herbs and spices. A dark stout is a perfect pair for a heavy and flavourful stew. Stouts with chocolate or coffee flavours create an intense contrast with these dishes. You can add a bit of beer when cooking to intensify the flavours in these stews.
Exploring beer and vegan dishes pairs is a journey your palate will relish. There are thousands of combinations to try.