In the garden of Eden, beer and sausage walk hand in hand. They are a happy match of salt, fat, hops, and sweet notes all rolled into one meal. There’s a good reason that over 140,000 pork sausage pairs are sold at Oktoberfest each year. It tastes good.
Did you know that some combinations of beer and sausage work better than others? It’s not that we think there are bad combinations – any mix of the two tastes good to us! But you’ll find there are some magical combinations that balance each other out perfectly.
We’ll run through our favorite combinations later in this article. Before that, it’s important to gain a basic knowledge of beer terminology. This way you’ll sound like a legend at your next BBQ explaining your choice of meat and booze.
Special note: if you want to make sausage from home consider checking out this information packed article for all the answers.
How to describe the taste of beer
You’ll often hear industry experts describing flavors with industry buzzwords. Let’s take a look at some of these now.
More hoppy flavored beers tend to fit into the category of bitter beers. Just to confuse things, some beers that use a lot of hops aren’t bitter at all. Beers that have their hops added earlier in the beer making process will often have a more pronounced hoppy taste.
To describe the taste of beer, you can’t just rely on the word “hoppy”. You’ll need to include a few more descriptors.
There are a huge number of ways to further describe the beer’s taste. Some of these include:
If you enjoy a nice crisp beer that almost tastes clean, then you’re probably a lover of lighter beers. As a general rule, lighter beers tend to have less alcohol.
Dark beers uses roasted malt grains. The roasting adds a darker color to the brew and provides a heavy, rich taste. Other flavors related to a dark brews include caramel, coffee and chocolate.
Sausage and beer pairing: The 3 rules
Once again, we’d like to point out that this isn’t a military regime. There are some general rules for pairing, but don’t stress too much about getting it wrong. Instead, take pleasure in searching for the perfect combination of beer and sausage. Unless you’re a natural, you’ll need to have multiple food pairing sessions to develop your skills. It’s such a shame.
#1 Avoid overpowering
Certain types of beer and sausage can have very overpowering flavors. Choose wisely when you opt for an in-your-face flavored menu item. It has the potential to drown out everything else around it. For example, a heavy stout would overwhelm a mild flavored chipolata sausage. The focus would be on the beer.
Instead, look to offer complementing flavors. Rich with rich, light with light is usually a winning option. For example, rich, slow cooked sausages would pair magically with a stout. How about a vegetarian sausage with a pale lager.
#2 Consider the palate
Meals such as heavy, rich roast dinners, spicy Indian and fatty foods are hard work on the palate. You often find that you need some relief from the flavor onslaught. Enter light beer. A refreshing, bitter beer will work wonders for cleansing the palate. A few gulps of beer and you’ll be ready to face that high powered curry again!
#3 Confuse the taste buds
This option is an “extra for experts” strategy. Contrasting rich and mild flavors can sometimes pay off if done right. For example, a fiercely hot, Italian sausage packed with a flavor punch of oregano and fennel – it will hold its own against a toffee flavoured brown ale.
How to pair sausage and beer
Here it is folks. Our infographic which outlines some popular beer types and what sausage to serve with them.
Here at Italian Barrel, we aren’t food snobs and we don’t endorse food-snobbery. Have some fun testing out different sausages and beers on your friends next time they’re over. Even the worst combination will probably taste okay to most.
Matching beer with sausage to make the perfect meal isn’t that difficult. Following a few simple rules will soon have you impressing your guests with your culinary skills. The best part is, it can all be done from the comfort of your grill.
Have you got a favorite combination? Let us know what it is by connecting with us on social media.