How to Pair Beer with Food - Echigo Koshihikari and Age Gobo18 Oct 2018
Pairing Beer and Food
When it comes to pairing food and beer, there aren't many strict rules that you must follow. Trying new and unique pairings can be interesting, and there aren’t many pairings that will clash and taste bad. However, if you want to get the most out of your pairing and enhance the flavor of the food, try to keep these four points in mind:
Contrast – Pairing food with beer that has a contrasting flavor might be risky, but it can lead to a good outcome if done correctly. To do so, you want to pick a beer or dish that has one strong, dominant flavor, such as sweet, rich, or oily. For example, the strong, briny flavor of oysters can stand up to the rich and chocolate-like flavor of the stout.
Complement – It is a simple way to pair beer and food. Match rich foods with beers that have a heavy and rich flavor (stouts or porters). Go for light-tasting salads or fish with light beers. Fruit beers, sweet beers with added fruit can make for great dessert pairings.
Cleanse – You can also use your beer to cleanse your palate. This type of pairing is ideal for dishes that have strong or overpowering flavors, spicy or fatty fried foods. For example, a nice pairing would be a light beer with spicy chicken, as the refreshing beer provides needed relief from the spiciness. This pairing also works in the opposite way, and you can use fatty foods (such as chips or nuts) to subdue the bitterness of an IPA.
Avoid Overpowering – Be aware the levels of flavor in your food and beer. Many medium and dark beers have a rich and powerful flavor that can overpower certain types of food. If you have delicate food and intense beer, you are going to lose the flavor of the food.
Light beers are best known for their pale yellow color and refreshing taste. This style of beer is also one of the most versatile, pairing well with a variety of dishes. Light lagers are among the palest type of beer, and they are well known for their crisp and refreshing taste. Most light lagers do not have a strong flavor, and they rarely have bitterness. Because light lagers have such a refreshing flavor, they are ideal for pairing with spicy dishes. The crisp and clean taste of such beer can subdue the spiciness of the food and provide much needed relief from the heat.
Our recommendation for Japanese lager is Echigo Koshihikari Beer which is the flagship brand of Echigo Brewery. It is a rice lager with 5% alcohol. While the malt ingredient is imported from Europe, the rice is harvested literally from the backyard of Echigo Brewery. Though this beer is categorized as being dry, the brewery uses the time-consuming German decoction method to bring out the natural sweet flavor from the Niigata grown Koshihikari rice, which can appeal even to those who do not like dry beer.
It’s a pale golden color that comes out of the bottle, with a strong head that quickly fades. It has a slightly acidic tang to the regular lager flavor, but it is not too overpowering. The beer has a crisp and refreshing flavor, and exceptionally soothing and smooth quality. The sweet aroma of rice, and eloquent fragrance of hops, make it the perfect complement to any dish.
Since spicy dish would be a perfect match this beer, please try pairing with this Sweet Chili Sauce Fried Gobo Wrapped in Lettuce. The rice lager will complement the light tasting lettuce, and it will cleanse your palate from the spicy taste of chili sauce. Please follow this simple recipe for a perfect match!
1 pack of Sozai Age Gobo
8 leaves of lettuce
1･1/2 Tbsp sweet chili sauce
A pinch of chili flakes
1. Cook Sozai Age Gobo lightly in a pan, then add sweet chili sauce and chili flakes.
2. Remove from the heat.
3. Wrap gobo pieces into lettuce and enjoy while sipping on Echigo Koshihikari Beer!