by Arvid Bergström Beer sommelier and author of titles such as Proef Bier (Taste Beer)
Sour beers at the dining tableFood pairing with wit beer, weizen, saison and geuze
Which dishes can you serve with a saison, wit beer or geuze? Food pairing is all about finding tasty or challenging combinations between beer and food. It can be summed up in three simple steps: first you consider the intensity of the beer, then the flavour and finally the flavour hook of the beer and the bridge between the two. This blog will demonstrate a nice example of flavour hooks and bridging ingredients, and it’ll give you a few tips on creating the best combinations with mildly sour and sour beers such as wheat beer, saison or geuze.
How does beer become sour?
Along with bitter, sour is a dominant flavour in beer. Some beers are mildly sour, others not at all and some incredibly so. This is down to the type of malt used, and what the fermentation process can do to these malts.
Wheat gives wit beer and weizen beers a mild sourness. Budels Witte Parel and Brand Weizen are examples.
Saison beers have a deliciously sour and funky flavour which comes from the combination of wheat malt and saison yeast.
Beers with a spontaneous fermentation such as Orval go mildly sour after a few months in the bottle.
The sourest kind of beer is the geuze. Geuze is perhaps the champagne of the beer styles. It’s a blend of various lambic beers of different ages, usually a mix of three year old and young lambic. Geuze is extremely sour, but absolutely delicious! Boon Oude Geuze would be a good example.
Which dishes pair with weizen and wit beers?
Intense beers demand intense dishes. Wit and weizen beers are made with barley malts and wheat malts, which make them far less intense than a dubbel, tripel or IPA. Make sure the food you serve with wit and weizen beers aren’t too intense - think of chicken salads, gently steamed fish or fruit.
Sour strengthens sour
Sour and sour reinforce each other, something to bear in mind when serving sour beer and using vinegar for a salad dressing, for example. Citric acids are far more forgiving than vinegar, so use lemon juice instead of vinegar for a salad dressing.
Sour strengthens bitter
This is perhaps the trickiest combination of all when pairing food with beer. Bitter is more common in beer than in food, and sour is more prevalent in food than in beer. So if you’re planning on drinking sour beer, you must test the food for its bitterness.
What dishes go well with a saison?
One of our favourite combinations is a soft goat’s cheese with a saison, such as a Maximus Saison 5.The cheese is wonderfully creamy and both have a farmhouse-like flavour. It’s great if the saison is heavily carbonated, as this will rinse the pallet nicely. Bruut Saison would be a good fit here.
Dishes to pair with a geuze
Geuze is incredibly sour and can taste strongly of fruit such as sour apples. This gives you a great flavour to work with: the sour apple of the geuze. Apple, of course, pairs beautifully with pork, making geuze and pork the perfect match.
And now for 2 recipes
A nice recipe for with wit beer, such asGulpener Korenwolf: chicken salad with peaches.
Fruit goes well with wit beer. In this dish, we’re using peaches.
Chops with marinated apple and a pumpkin and parsnip cream go beautifully with a geuze. Serve with a Boon Mariage Parfait to bring out all the complimentary flavours.