The second step: flavours in the beer and food
You can play around to some extent with flavours - they don’t have to be the same. The intensity has to be comparable, but not the flavours. You can technically try any combination, but there are a couple of pitfalls to be aware of. Sweet food will strengthen the sweetness of beer, for example, resulting in sweetness being the overwhelming flavour at the cost of everything else. So taste and see for yourself!
Five basic flavours in beer:
Sweetness comes primarily from the malts used. Lightly roasted malts impart a subtle grain or caramel flavour, such as in the Gouverneur Dubbel.
Bitterness comes mainly from the hops. Pilsners, IPAs and double IPAs use a large amount of hops - the Chateau Neubourg has been voted the best pilsner in the Netherlands for the third year in a row.
Dark roasted malts can also impart bitterness.
Sourness can come from the use of sour malts, for example. Beers with sour malts aren’t especially sour in flavour - a nice example would be the Waterwolf Saison from Brouwerij Hoop. Geuze is much more sour, such as Oude Geuze from Oud Beersel.
Beer contains a small amount of salt. This salt comes from the water used in the brewing process.
The German beer style gose contains slightly saltier water - Oedipus Swingers is an example of a beer where salt is added.
Umami is the flavour of stock in tomatoes or Parmesan cheese. Umami in beer comes from the roasted malts such as in the Bloedbroeder.