09 April 2021
What does every good pub have? That's right, drinks in abundance and lots of good snacks. We can all appreciate the kinship between the two, so where there is lots of beer, you need lots of salty snacks.
Now, we are not referring to fancy canapes or gourmet finger food. We mean easy, hassle-free bar snacks, crisps, dips, nuts and maybe even a couple of (veggie) sausages. So, here are some classic bar snack and draught beer suggestions. Like we said, it's just like any other Saturday afternoon in your local boozer!
Dry roasted peanuts are the quintessential, budget but beautiful, bar snack. Anyone that is familiar with British pub culture is aware that peanuts are the iconic accompaniment to a pint. A malt-forward beer like Newcastle Brown Ale will work very well with the roasted character of the nuts. Many dark ales and porters go fantastically well with peanuts, the saltiness will balance the bitterness of the beer. If you fancy spicing things up a bit, serve some chili peanuts and pair with Het Uiltje Bird of Prey or BrewDog Clockwork Tangerine.
Guacamole is always a good snack. It's very low effort but perfect for dunking and dipping with salty tortilla chips. Ideally, a beer to serve with this should be crisp and citrusy. Tasty and zingy flavors of Gosser Radler will match very well with the limey guac. The lager will cut through the fattiness of the avocado and the saltiness of the chips will contrast with the sweet beer.
Cheddar is a British classic. It's also great because, depending on the strength, matches well with lots of beer styles. Match a mild cheddar with a lager or pilsner. Try Heineken or Amstel for a pairing that will complement one another rather than contrast. Far a sharp, mature one, go for a German wheat beer, barley wine or even a stout.
There's a reason why you can get chips at any boozer, bar or pub. Chips and beer make the perfect pair. There is some science to it though, the natural sweetness of the potato is elevated by the malts in the beer. Beers with a crisp, freshness will cut through the fattiness of the oils, whereas a rich beer will marry well with the earthiness of the potato. If you go one step further and go for sweet potato chips, we actually suggest a Belgian wheat beer, especially with a garlic or chipotle mayo. They both offer up a citrus zing that make the flavours sing.
Hot dogs are very easy and go well with almost all beers. You can also get great vegetarian alternatives too; choosing between those that really imitate meat and those that are vegetable based. If you're looking for a low ABV beer, again, we can't recommend the thirst-quenching Gosser Radler enough. It's a great all-rounder because the low alcohol content will let you sip all evening long and the added dash of lemon will cleanse well with the fatty, salty foods like sausage.
With IPAs like Lagunitas IPA, the obvious food combination is curry or fish and chips, but for easy snack food, whack a pizza in the oven. IPAs are great for pairing, they work well with a lot of foods, especially hard-hitting flavours. Lagunitas IPA will stand up to the salty goodness with the dominant citrus and tropical fruitiness. Additionally, the beer will cleanse the palate from the finger-licking greasiness. If that even sounds like too much effort, just grab some jalapeno crisps!
Talking of IPAs, if there is a beer snack equivalent of this all-embracing beer style then it's the Scotch egg. Pork sausage, surrounding a hard-boiled egg is the classic, but there are also many veggie options, including falafel, vegetarian haggis, potato and even aubergine. Whatever the combination is, an IPA is always a friendly and expressive accompaniment. Go for one with a tropical flavour with and touch of sweetness, like Gandolf IPA. The fruity and juiciness with provide a great contrast to the brawny, robust Scotch egg.
For crisps, scampi fries, nuts, popcorn, pretzels, bombay mix, wasabi peas or anything salty, there's one catch-all beer that will never let you down. Savoury snacks match very well with lager or pilsner as they help to cleanse the palate and offer a crisp, refreshing ease from salt. Try Pelforth or Zipfer Urtyp for a clean and refreshingly malty match. Lagers and salt match well without conflict; you can enjoy the two together without washing away the saltiness of the snacks or diluting the flavours of the beer.
Ever wondered why you crave crisps and nuts over salad when you're sipping pints? When we eat salty foods, the receptors responsible for detecting bitterness are reduced, so salt in fact neutralises bitterness. As a result, beer can taste smoother, and you can appreciate other characteristics in its taste profile. Salt can actually make beer taste better!