Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Two Pints of Real Ale and a Packet of Pistachios

The Great British Beer Festival, hosted by the Campaign for Real Ale, is encouraging its expected 55,000 visitors to match the real ales they try with different foods, as part of a new campaign to get more people matching beer with their meals.

The majority of pubs and restaurants in Britain continue to promote wine with food but with over 8,000 different real ales brewed by more than 1,000 British breweries, there is a huge range of flavours to match just about any dish. From classic matches like Curry with a strong and hoppy India Pale Ale to more unusual combos like sausages paired with a Bacon and Chocolate Porter.

To help show real ale can be matched with a huge variety of foods as well as pub snacks, the Great British Beer Festival is hosting the first ever ‘Nuts & Beer’ Tutored Tasting Session on Thursday. Beer Sommelier Jane Peyton and American Pistachio Growers will show visitors how they can match different beer styles with American pistachio nuts with flavourings including teriyaki, garlic and thyme.

Jane Peyton said, “We want pubs to introduce beer matches to their food menu as this will encourage new people to try real ale and also help differentiate them from other food outlets. Real ale is back in fashion and ‘Beer and Food’ matching has become more popular in a number of British pubs in recent years, but it is still wine that dominates as an accompaniment on most pub food menus. We hope by raising the profile of matching Beer and Food at the Great British Beer Festival in London next week it will encourage thousands of beer lovers to start spreading the word to their friends and local pubs all across Britain”. 

Real ales come in a variety of different styles that include Golden Ales, Milds, Bitters, Porters, Barley Wines, IPAs and Stouts so there is plenty of scope to find the ideal beer to match your favourite foods. With this in mind the Great British Beer Festival programme will include informative pages explaining which different foods at the festival match different beer styles.

Alongside the festival programme CAMRA will also be promoting their Beer and Food Matching Guide, which gives visitors to the Great British Beer Festival examples of beers to try alongside foods available at the event. These include:
Sausages paired with “A Pork-a-lypse” by Brains Brewery. Making its debut at GBBF, try this Double Chocolate and Bacon porter alongside a sausage for a double pork hit.
Curry paired with “Big Job” by St Austell, the bigger brother to the popular ‘Proper Job’ IPA, this is a powerfully flavoured beer that’s more than up to the job of matching a spicy curry.
Chocolate paired with a Belgian cherry beer like “3 Fonteinin Kriek”. This traditional Belgian ‘Kriek’ has a great sweet and sour character that’s surprisingly good with chocolate.

CAMRA’s Chief Executive, Mike Benner said, “There are a number of pubs that are doing some fantastic things with matching beers and food, but we would like to see more add beer on the menus as well as wine so consumers can make an informed choice. A lot of people nowadays like to choose pubs and restaurants that serve locally grown food and we hope pubs will follow suit offering local brewed beers to match. The Great British Beer Festival is the ideal place to start with such a range of beers and food available at the event.”

The Great British Beer Festival runs at London’s Olympia from the 13th to the 17th of August, featuring over 800 real ales, ciders, perries and international beers. For more information, or to download the food matching guide, visit

The full Beer and Food Matching Guide for GBBF is below (provided by: CAMRA and the Great British Beer Festival.)

Some great pubs already matching beer and food:

Anchor, Walberswick, Suffolk
White Horse, Parsons Green, London
Cutty Sark Tavern, Greenwich, London 
Bull, Highgate, London
Friends of Ham, Leeds, West Yorkshire
Tithe Bar, Northallerton, North Yorkshire
Tattershall Castle Pub Company launched a beer and food menu in June 2013
Geronimo Inns organise regular beer and food matching events

Beer and Food Matching Guide for CAMRA’s Great British Beer Festival!

Shellfish - available at International Seafoods


“Old Engine Oil” by Harviestoun goes surprisingly well with shellfish and is much lighter than it sounds.
“Black Bath Porter” by London Fields is a great beer from one of London’s newest breweries.


“1913 Stout” by St Austell is made using a 100 year old recipe.
“Tea Kettle Stout” by Tring, named after the shape of Hertfordshire where the brewery is based.

Wheat beer

“Schneider Weisse” from Germany is one of the most famous and tastiest Wheat beers in the World. 
“Troublette” by Caracole is a superbly refreshing Belgian style wheat beer that pairs very well with seafood.

Curry - available at India Gate

Strong IPA

“Monkey IPA” by Art Brew is so stuffed full of hops it’ll make your tongue tingle, just like a good chilli hit.
“Big Job” by St Austell, the bigger brother to the popular ‘Proper Job’ IPA, is more than up to the job of matching a spicy curry.
“Yakima IPA” by Great Heck is a powerful beer full of hops from the Yakima valley in America.

Sausages - available at Real Meat Sausage Company and Yuley’s Bratwurst

Smoked beers / Porter

“Aecht Schlenkerla Marzen” is a German smoked beer that is as hard to get your head around flavourwise as it is difficult to say. Using heaps of smoked malt it is sweet and savoury all at the same time and the perfect partner to a Bratwurst.
“A Pork-a-lypse” by Brains isn’t technically ‘smoked’ but is a smokey bacon and chocolate porter, brewed with real bacon.

Dark Milds

“Dark” by Brain’s brewery is a classic dark mild that punches way above its session strength 3.5% abv would suggest.
“Midnight Bell” by Leeds Brewery shares its name with their flagship gastropub and is a big, rich and malty mild for those who want a full flavour hit.
“Sussex Mild” by Harvey’s is a fantastic beer that those outside of Sussex are unlikely to have had the chance to try.

Chicken - available at Dill’s Burgers

Wheat Beers

“Andechser Weissbier Hell” is a pale wheat beer with a fruity flavour and a slightly sweet finish that’s great with chicken.
“Blonde Ash Wheat” by Grain brewery is a British take on a wheat beer, with flavours of bubblegum, orange and coriander.


“Wild Swan” by Thornbridge brewery is a very pale ale with a refreshing lemon citrus flavour, massively drinkable at just 3.5%.
“Young’s Bitter” by Wells & Young’s is an excellent traditional English bitter that goes with a huge range of lighter foods.

Steak - available at Great British Steak Bar


“Black Diamond” by Gower brewery in Wales is smokey and spicy, perfect for with a peppery piece of steak. 
“Sir Roger’s Porter” by Earl Soham brewery is a full flavoured, dark brown, malty beer that works well with charred steak.

Dark Milds

“Ruby Mild” by Rudgate is, as the name would suggest, a dark ruby colour with a great nutty, rich flavour perfect with beef.

Fish & Chips - available at Fish & Chips

Golden Ales

“Citra” by Crouch Vale Brewery is, as the name would suggest, a citrusy beer that cuts through the oil in fish and chips
“Beyond the Pale” by Elland Brewery is a fruity and refreshing Golden Ale with a bitter, dry finish.

Pasty - available at Proper Cornish Pasties

Strong Bitter

“Proper Job” by St Austell - What could be better than a strong Cornish beer to go with a tasty Cornish pasty?


“Betty Stogs” by Skinner’s is another Cornish beer, with a great balance of malt and hops in its copper coloured body.

Cheeses - available at The Truckle Cheese Co 

Light bitters for mild cheeses

“Gem” by Bath Brewery is a great all rounder and would go well with many mild cheeses.
“Windermere Pale” by Hawkshead is low in strength but big on flavour so pair with a mild, salty cheese such as feta.

Full-bodied Ales for strong cheeses

“ESB” by Fuller’s stands for Extra Special Bitter and is a strongly flavoured, well hopped, full-on flavoured beer.
“Big Ben” by Thwaites is a strong brown ale with a great bittersweet flavour, perfect for a strong cheddar.

Barley Wine or very strong IPA’s for blue cheeses

“A over T” by Hog’s Back brewery is a hugely strong and sweet barley wine that should be reserved for powerfully flavoured cheeses.
“Double Jack” by Firestone Walker is an American double IPA. Twice the strength and double the hops of a regular strength India Pale Ale – but goes surprisingly well with Stilton or other strong blue cheeses.
“400 Pound Monkey IPA” by Left Hand Brewing Co is another American beer but this time brewed as a strong British style IPA.

Chocolate - available at Merry Berry Truffles

Imperial Stouts

“Imperial Russian Stout” by Harvey’s is an unusually sweet and sour imperial stout which goes great with bittersweet dark chocolate.
“Rayless Imperial Stout” by Eminent Brewing is a strong American beer aged in Maker’s Mark Bourbon barrels. Try this with boozy truffles.

Belgian Fruit Beer

“3 Fonteinin Kriek” is a Belgian cherry fruit beer which has a great sweet and sour character that’s surprisingly good with chocolate.
“Girardin Framboise” – if cherries aren’t your thing then give raspberries a go with this classic Belgian framboise beer.