The Guinness Brewery at St. James’s Gate in Dublin has been brewing beer since its founder, Arthur Guinness, signed his now famous 9,000-year lease on the property on December 31st 1759. The brewery began its life producing ales for Dublin City, it would soon embark on a journey brewing new styles of beer originating in London known as Porter’s and Stout’s. This journey would lead the then small family brewery located on the outskirts of Dublin City to become the largest Stout brewery in the world. Along the 258-year journey that Guinness has undertaken it has been frequently enjoyed at the table alongside a well paired dish.
The secret of a good pairing lies in the three C’s, Comparing, Contrasting and Cutting.
We will now use Guinness Draught Stout as an example of how to Compare and Contrast the same beer with two different dishes, and examine how the presence of one can interact with the flavor of the other.
When Comparing we are required to find foods with similar flavor and intensity to that of the beer. These flavors will then compliment and resonate with each other.
For our first pairing, we use Guinness Draught Stout, found in new throw-back cans featuring the Kinkajou, a marketing creation from the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s by legendary artist John Gilory. Distinctively dark with a rich creamy head, coffee and malty, and the perfect balance of bitter, sweet and roast characters. These flavors are the product of using roasted barley in our brewing and also give Guinness Draught Stout it’s iconic ruby red color. When the barley is roasted at 466 degrees Fahrenheit for 2 and 1Ž2 hours it undergoes a change called the Maillard reaction, a chemical reaction between amino acids and reducing sugars that also gives browned food its distinctive flavor. The flavors from the roasted barley used in Guinness Draught Stout balance wonderfully with the similar rich roasted flavors of an Applewood Smoked Bacon Sandwich with each sip of stout harmonizing with every bite of sandwich until both glass and plate are empty.
After looking at Comparing let us now review Contrasting Guinness Draught Stout with a different dish. As we know Stout tastes of coffee and bitter flavors, let us use those to contrast against and accentuate the sweet and creamy deliciousness of a warm Apple and Pear Tart nestled under a generous scoop of Vanilla Gelato. This pairing is very similar to having your cup of coffee with a sweet pastry or confection.
Finally let’s discuss Cutting. We will utilize Guinness Blonde American Lager as our example for Cutting. Guinness Blonde American Lager, light and hoppy with floral and citrus notes and a long malt biscuit finish. This crisp and refreshing lager has a lively mouthfeel provided by its ample carbonation, this carbonation is ideal for “Cutting” through creamy and juicy dishes and cleansing the palate after each bite. While enjoying a burger at a BBQ or creamy ham and cheese croquettes using this pairing technique, Cutting scrubs the palate and resets your taste buds after each sip.
We hope you enjoy using the 3 C’s for your future beer and food pairing adventures! Happy St. Patrick’s Day from the Brewer’s at Guinness and always remember to Drink Responsibly.
Eoghain Clavin, Guinness Brewery Ambassador, Pacific Region U.S.