Bell's News

BEER AND FOOD - The amazing duo you need to try

When it comes to food pairings, for many people their first thought is wine because of its prevalence as a pairing in restaurants and homes for decades. Folks are comfortable with the idea. But, when we think about food pairings, beer is first on our minds.  

“When it comes down to it, food and beer go better together than wine and food do,” Bell’s Executive Chef, Kristofer McDonough said. “Beer in many ways, like food, is a recipe to follow. Unlike wine, you’re not limited to what the grape is going to do for you. With beer, with all the different malt choices and yeast choices, you can really make beer that’s going to go great with food and reveal so many different, complex and beautiful flavors.”

Beer and food share a lot of similarities in terms of their flavor components and ingredients, which is part of the reason why they pair so well together. 

“As with most chefs, we don’t make one note dishes, we try to incorporate a lot of flavors and make complex flavor profiles. At Bell’s we do the exact same thing not only with our food, but also our beer,” Kris said. “Whether you want to experience more of the hop profiles or more of the malt , food can pull out some of those additional flavors that our brewers chose to highlight.”

Another benefit that beer offers when pairing with food is its ability to pair well with different cuisines from throughout the world.

“You’re going to be hard pressed in the whole world of beer that we have and the different variances in all those types of beers, not to find a perfect pairing with any type of food,” Kris said. “Not only are you able to get more flavors out of the food, you’re able to get more flavors out of the beer.”

Along with the ability to choose specific malts, hops, and yeast to pair with foods, one of the main benefits that beer provides when it comes to pairing with foods is carbonation.

“The carbonation of the beer does a beautiful thing of cutting through a lot of the tastes that would stick to your mouth,” Kris said.

Beer also has a way of preparing a person’s mouth before the meal. “Essentially in the same way you’ll get appetizers before dinner, beer helps to prepare your palate, your tongue and all of your taste buds to wake up,” Kris said. “A beer before dinner will help you be able to taste everything in a dish better.”

Similar to wine, beer can also have complimentary and contrasting pairings. Depending on personal preferences, both types of pairings have their benefits. For a complimentary pairing, the tastes and flavors of the beer and match, while in a contrasting pairing subtle flavors of both the beer and food can be brought out.

“If you’re looking for a beer to have a great meal with and not push yourself too much, a complimentary pairing is great. If you’re looking to have bit more of an adventure when you pair beer and food together, go for some of those more contrasting pairings.”

In Kalamazoo at the Eccentric Café, Kris and his team work hard to keep in mind the beer profiles when designing the menus. Throughout the year, the café designs specific specials to pair with seasonal beers, such as Oberon and Best Brown, as well as hosts several pairing dinners for fans to attend.

“Whether it’s onion rings or foie gras pate, we do our best to pair it with Bell’s beers,” Kris said. “In general, we do our best to make food that will complement our beer.”

For those of you who aren’t able to take a quick trip down to the Eccentric Café, Kris recommends sticking to some basic beer and food pairing principles: If it’s a malty beer like our Amber Ale or Octoberfest, try pairing it with grilled meats, vegetables and nutty cheeses, if you have a hoppy beer like Two Hearted or Oatsmobile try fish, fresh fruits or a funky cheese like blue cheese.

He also suggests taking a peek at our beer brand pages, or chatting with our experts themselves (our events are a great opportunity to ask questions, learn about new beers, enjoy a Bell's beer and more).

“We have a great list compiled of all of our beers and the foods we would recommend with them, on our website,” said Kris. “If you have a favorite Bell’s beer come talk to our bartenders or brewers to see what they would recommend. The biggest thing when it comes to beer and food pairings is to base them off of what you like. What’s your favorite type of food? What flavors do you like? Start down that rabbit hole, see where that takes you and start the adventure yourself.”

Keep an eye out for some of our favorite beer and food pairings on FacebookTwitter or Instagram and share your favorite #bellsbeer and food pairings with us!