6 craft beers and how to pair them with food

Certain beers go well with chocolate cake and some are best drunk while puffing a cigar, so says our beer expert Jim Araneta, owner of Global Beer Exchange

By Celia Nachura

There was a time when beer was simply San Miguel, but these days the choice is endless. Global Beer Exchange's The Bottle Shop in Makati has at least 75 different beers on its menu and gives useful tips on how to pair them with food. Global Beer Exchange founder and owner Jim Araneta says beer is just as complex, diverse and flavorful as wine and can complement a meal. As a rule of thumb, lighter brews are usually paired with lighter dishes and the bolder beers demand hardier, more complex flavors from its food pair.

Here's Araneta's A-Z of perfect beer and food pairings

1 Pilsners

The pilsner is what Araneta calls "the most common style in the world." Although commercial brands add fillers and adjuncts instead of sticking to the four main ingredients of beer —water, hops, yeast and barley— they are the ones that are highly visible on supermarket shelves. Commercial brands include San Miguel, Heineken, Stella and Corona. Because the flavors of the pilsner is very neutral and easy to enjoy, Araneta says most food go well with this type of beer. 
Beer pick: Gordon Biersch Czech Style Pilsner
Drink it with... Go wild, pilsners go with anything!


Picture Perfect

A photo posted by Gordon Biersch (@gordonbiersch) on

2 Wheat beer

Wheat beers are among the lightest brews with very low hops and consequently low bitterness. Brewers measure bitterness using the International Bitterness Units (IBU) and this type has low IBU in the range of 10 to 15. It's also a very popular drink, especially for people who are new to craft beer or are commercial beer drinkers. Made of wheat, these beers are light, cloudy and usually have flavors like banana or citrus.
Beer picks: Gordon Biersch Hefeweizen, Hitochino Nest White Ale
Drink it with... Light dishes like fish, chicken and even salads. Nothing fried.

3 Amber and brown ales

The IBU of these brown ales are higher than the wheat beers, but the bitterness isn't overpowering because of the malt flavors in the mix. Araneta says these heavier, medium-bodied brews - sometimes mixed with nutty flavors as well - complement red meats very well.
Beer picks: Rogue Dead Guy Ale, Rogue Hazelnut Brown Ale
Drink it with... Burgers and steaks.

4 Pale ales

For those who are well-versed in craft beer, there's nothing that beats this family: the pale ales, the India pale ales (IPA) and the Double IPAs. The only difference among the three is the increasing IBU and alcohol content, with the pale ales being the least aggressive of the three and the Double IPAs the most. The middle ground, the IPA, is the most popular craft beer style in the world. These are lighter-bodied brews —not quite as filling as the ambers— but they're also hoppier, very bitter. Most have refreshing, tropical notes. Aggressive dishes are best paired with these beers such as deep fried food and maybe something spicy like curry, because the bitterness of the beer will balance the spicy flavor.
Beer picks: Anderson Valley Poleeko Pale Ale, Stone Brewing Stone IPA, Stone Brewing Stone Ruination Double IPA 2.0
Drink it with... Fish and chips, fried chicken, crispy lechon or porchetta. Think greasy, oily and spicy.

5 Stouts

Many stout beers are tinged with coffee and chocolate notes, making them a perfect after-meal kind of drink. Preferably with dessert. "It's like coffee," Araneta said, adding that it's a good complement to sweets. Next time, instead of having brewed coffee with chocolate cake, try a sweet stout. 
Beer picks: Anderson Valley Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout, Rogue Chocolate Stout
Drink it with... Doughnuts, cakes and oreo cookies. Fresh oysters are also considered a classic with stouts. 

Chocolate cake from Felicity's Pastry Shop in Bacolod. By Mark Antang

6 The heavy-hitters

These are the "big beers" of the Global Beer Exchange Bottle Shop collection with high alcohol content in the range of 10% to 12% and high IBU from 70 to 90. 
Beer picks: Rogue New Crustacean Barleywineish, Stone Brewing Imperial Russian Stout
Drink it with... cigars.

About our insider
Jim Araneta is the founder and owner of craft beer importer and distributor Global Beer Exchange

Try their brews at The Bottle Shop, located at the Paseo de Magallanes commercial center, Magallanes, Makati. It has branches at the 26th St. corner 3rd Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig and Paseo de Sta. Rosa in Sta. Rosa, Laguna. Follow The Bottle Shop on Instagram.

Published August 2016