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Better Beer - Posted in Airdrie Life Summer 2010

Posted by Story by Alex Frazer-Harrison, July 1st, 2010 | 0 Comments

Why you should choose your beer like you choose your wine

It's easy to find yourself in a rut when it comes to beer – the same old, same old you pick up year round at the liquor store.

But with some creative thinking, you can expand your beer-drinking horizons this summer.

"If you're going to the liquor store to buy beer, pick up a couple of different ones off the shelf and experiment until you find something you really love," says Paul Sass of The Home vintner, which sells home-brewing kits and offers classes on how to get ahead in beer-drinking.

Sass says the world of beer can be as complex as that of wine, with many different types, from stouts to pale ales to lagers.

"There are lots of Belgian fruit-style beers," he says. "They tie in well with fruit desserts. Wile Rose does an excellent raspberry ale.

"Stout beer works great with heavily barbecued stuff," he adds.

When it comes to food and beer, it's about matching the intensity of the food with the intensity of the beer, and experimenting, Sass says.

"You sip the beer, then taste the food and then sip the beer again and you'll find your perceptions have changed," he says.

Beer, of course, is never a one-size-fits-all beverage.

"I'm a big fan of picking a different-style beer for every occasion, instead of drinking only one,' says Paul Gautreau, brew-master for Calgary-based bib Rock Brewery.

"There are a few styles of beer we tend to associate with warm summer months. Grasshopper, a filtered wheat ale, is a popular patio beer, as we find XO Lager and our two light lagers, Jack Rabbit and Lime, {becoming} increasingly popular."

Big Rock is launching a new lager this summer, Gopher, which Gautreau says is a lighter lager that will appeal to the summertime-beer aficionado.

Sass says that being creative with beer can result in some interesting combinations. For example, did you know you can make a beer float? "Vanilla ice cream, beer and a blender; that's as simple as it gets for a recipe," he says.

There are also a ton of cheese-beer pairings. 'Yellow-bubbly" beers, such as Canadian and Grasshopper, go well with such cheese as Monterey Jack, marble and havarti. Fans of red ales like Kilkenny might want to try it with butter cheese, Caerphilly or old cheddar. Stouts like Guinness pair well with white stilton.

And according to Big Rock, which lists pairings for many of its brands on its website, Lime Light Lager might be just the ticket for pairing with Mexican food like spicy salsa or grilled chicken fajitas.

Post filed under: Ask The Vintner

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