National Fish and Chips Day
How to celebrate this glorious dish? With equally as glorious beer! Happy fryday!
National Fish and Chips Day, is always celebrated on the first Friday of June, happy fryday! It started in 2015 to acknowledge the nation's favourite dish, a day to give fish and chips the recognition it deserves! In 2022 it will fall June 3rd. And why do we love it at Beerwulf?! Because fish and chips go exceedingly well with beer.
Now, we can appreciate there are regional differences, some people like vinegar, others have gravy. Some people dunk their chips in mushy peas, some sprinkle scraps. Some like cod, plaice or haddock. Don't get us started on the mayonnaise or ketchup debate! Despite all this, there are two constants, two unchanging rules about fish and chips that people across the country come together and agree on. That is, that the chips are always fat, and it tastes better with beer.
The craft beer revolution has done wonders for challenging outdated stereotypes that beer is a less sophisticated pairing than wine. And that's great. However, fish and chips and beer have had a love affair that predates the craft movement, they go way back. Fish, chips and beer is old hat. And for obvious reasons, it's salty, fatty and crispy! In normal years we would say, order some beers from Beerwulf in advance and on the day go down to your local chippy for take-out. However, the hospitality industry has taken a real battering (pardon the pun) this year, so we actually recommend going out this time. We will still give some suggestions of how to match the salty, greasiness to perfection though. We've even taken into account those of you that like tartare and malt vinegar. Things have opened up and fish and chips are a pub classic, so it would be remiss not to take this opportunity.
For a quintessentially English staple like fish and chips you might instantly think of an English ale. You're not wrong, the refined bitterness from any English pale ale or bitter will provide a refreshing counterpart to the fattiness from the fried fish and chips. Additionally, the biscuitty malt base connects nicely with the fried batter crust. Amber or red ales (Ninkasi have a nice one) will have the same effect, especially if you go for the ones more on the hoppy side. Slight caramel flavors from bitter or brown ales will work especially well if you like tartare sauce (as promised)!
Don't rule out other styles, however. A Belgian Strong Blond (Duvel), for example is stronger, but not overly complex in flavour, resulting in a great match when it comes to intensity. The higher levels of carbon dioxide will cut through the fat with a surprisingly refreshing effect. The salty dish will flourish with the fruity notes in the beer.
IPAs will work really well also. Classic English IPAs will have a similar effect as a bitter, it might even work better, as the salt from the dish will let the fruitiness shine. This is a model example of matching intensity of a beer to the dish; these are harmonized to perfection. IPAs that fall towards the American spectrum of the beer style might be a bit overwhelming, their hop flavours tend to be more intense. Play it safe and stay away from the strong Double / Imperial IPAs. BrewDog's Punk IPA is a favourite amongst fish and chips aficionados. It is well-matched because it will not overwhelm your flavours, but will also add a fruity and tropical layer, creating a complex flavour. Most American pale ales will do the job too!
If you don’t fancy the pub and are keen to be a bit more adventurous, try creating your own beer batter at home. Adding beer can create extra flavour, and the carbonation will make the batter golden, light and crispy. Lagers work best for this; their delicate flavour will not be too bold or overpowering and the subtle malt and hop flavours will complement the fish. A stout could be interesting. This will add a slight chocolaty, malty sweet profile and maybe coffee notes too. The stout will be delicious for frying fish but also for a veggie alternative, potatoes and onion rings.
We suggest staying clear of very hoppy beers. The hops will isomerise and turn bitter, the aromas also are too fragile to stand up to frying.
So, whether you're going to the pub or making your own batter, we sincerely hope you enjoy it. Long live the nation's favourite!