There has been some real animosity towards the marriage of beer and food in the beer blogging world of late, or at least in one segment of it, and I must admit that I just don’t get it. At issue is a recent article by New York Times writer Eric Asimov about wishing that the quality of food in NYC beer joints would keep pace with the quality of the beer. I think it’s a quite reasoned commentary, and if you’ve ever suffered through an overcooked, previously frozen burger on a Wonder Bread bun while enjoying a pint of fine pale ale or pilsner, I’m guessing you’ll think the same.
So why the hatred? Why is it that, for some people, the mere thought of pairing beer and food in a mutually beneficial way is tantamount to treason towards the ways and traditions of good beer? Frankly, I just don’t get it.
Here’s what I think. If I’m down at the pub or corner bar with some friends enjoying a few pints of quality ale or lager and I get hungry, I’d like to be able to satisfy my hunger with a decent morsel of food, whether a moist and flavourful sausage, a plate of good nachos or a burger that is less than a week old. And if I’m at a fine dining restaurant, I wouldn’t mind the option of a quality stout to enjoy alongside my plate of Malpeque oysters or a sweet and fruity Belgian style golden ale to complement my foie gras au torchon.
In neither case do I feel I’d be doing a disservice to beer. On the contrary, I think that either instance would be elevating the taste of the beers in question by pairing them with quality, compatible foods.
Note that nowhere am I suggesting that beer should only go with the foie and oysters, or that crap nachos are okay for eating with beer because, after all, it’s only beer. That, I think, would be doing a disservice to beer, and a pretty great one, at that.
Honestly, I can’t see why anyone with tastebuds would think otherwise.