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The World of Food and Beer

Whether it’s on the side, in a cocktail or as part of a meal, beer has become an essential element of food. It adds a unique and complex flavor to appetizers, entrees and desserts while also adding structure to sauces and marinades and providing a delicious hearty broth for soups and stews. With the rise of craft breweries, beer is becoming increasingly common in restaurants and at home. Understanding the nuances of beer pairing can help restaurateurs, chefs and other culinary professionals pair their food with a beer that will complement the dish and enhance its flavors.

Beer and food are an incredibly natural combination. Beer is made from water, cereal grains, hops and yeast—the same ingredients that make up many popular meals. When paired correctly, the natural carbonation of beer refreshes and cleanses the palate while the alcohol relaxes the body. Beer is also known to relieve stress, lower blood pressure and even ease depression.

Lighter beers—like lagers, hefeweizens and Belgian blondes—are good matches for mild dishes like chicken or fish. The citrusy flavors in these brews balance the saltiness in certain shellfish, and the lighter body helps prevent the food from being overwhelmed. Darker beers—like porters, stouts and brown ales—have more toasty and chocolatey tastes that work well with grilled meats, cheeses and richer desserts like cheesecake and creme brulee.

Whether it’s used as a cooking ingredient, to make a beverage or to pair with food, learning the basics of beer and food pairing will open up new opportunities for your culinary staff and patrons alike. This course, which includes lectures, suggested readings, video sessions and tastings, will give your students an in-depth look at the world of food and beer—one that was already a staple of early American cuisine.

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