In search of the wow! beer - Food moments

When I think of my best culinary moments, beer with salad or beer with soup does not come to mind. And that is a pity because beer is just as versatile as wine. It is true that a high-end restaurant would never admit that (at least not yet), but I personally do not care much for bite size plates that go for the price of 10 great beers. What does matter to me, however, is how many beer - food matches will make us go wow, a match made in heaven!

This past weekend I found my wow! moment. Some places in the world just seem to have the right food DNA for beer. Alsace (region in the Eastern part of France) is one of them.

Heavily influenced by German food, it offers many distinct and strong flavors that complements beer very well. My tastes buds went wild when I tasted their tarte flambée or flammkuchen, a thin pizza dough that I ordered with three types of cheese (brie, goat cheese and munster - the local specialty) and their potato gratin with smoked meat, paired with the local Fischer beer. It helped, of course, that I had worked up my appetite in a long walk through the fairytale villages around Colmar.

Dinner plate and Fischer beer in Colmar.

The whole experience got me thinking whether there is a correlation between beer consumption per capita and food DNA. And indeed, I find that countries ranked highest also prefer heavier dishes, many featuring meat. That said, there are so many great ways to enjoy a lighter beer with a salad or some cheese, especially during the hot season.

For beer and cheese lovers, great news: it turns out that cheeses such as gorgonzola, brie, goat cheese and smoked gouda accentuate the stronger beer flavors. For lighter beers, such as witbier or the classic pilsner, lighter cheeses are recommended - makes sense. It will be those subtle and obscure combinations that will make this food - beer exploration most exciting.

As I am embarking on my search for the wow! match, I will surely keep Alsace in mind. However, it is hard to ignore the US where both beer and beer-friendly food continue to climb higher every year on the scale of deliciousness. I am talking about mouth-watering ribs, barbecue, Buffalo chicken wings, hamburgers, pulled pork sandwiches...should I even continue?

American barbecue ribs with beer

The list seems endless! I shall stop here because I am getting very hungry!

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