ADVENTURES IN VEGAN FOOD AND CRAFT BEER
Perfect pairings abound in the world of food and drink—think wine + cheese, gin + tonic, chips + dip… you get the idea.
But for those embracing a vegan lifestyle, some pairings might become a bit more challenging. Have no fear! If you love craft beer but not necessarily the typical meat-centric foods that tend to be paired with it, get ready to enjoy some vegan food and beer pairings that will leave you hungry and thirsty for more!
A good first step is to focus on the basics of what you are trying to pair.
Give the beer a taste (do we have to twist your arm?) and you might identify characteristics such as bitter, sweet, malted, roasted or floral. You can also pick up hints of specific flavours such as caramel, molasses, grain/bread, or coffee.
Alternatively, you might want to begin with the taste profiles of the food. Consider the main elements of the food you are eating: is it spicy, sweet, strong or mild? Does it have a lot of heat, or is it more mellow-tasting? Is it rich or mild?
From there, you can consider two ways to pair your food with your beer: complementary flavours or opposing flavours. Either choice will work! Have some fun and experiment… take notes each time you give new pairings a try.
Let’s Stick Together: Complementary Flavours
Consider pairing similar types of flavours, such as a sweet dessert with
a smooth, sweet beer, or a sharp vegan cheese with a hoppy, more full flavoured beer. As you enjoy your pairing, try to taste the similarities as they enhance and complement each other.
Keeping it Balanced: Opposing Flavours
Another approach would be to have contrasting flavours and intensities—a mild food paired with a boldly flavoured beer, or a bold food with a more mellow beer. You could match a simple rice and veggie bowl with a strong IPA, or pair a spicy, garlicky roasted veggie platter with a smooth amber lager. The combinations are endless!
Let’s say you are starting with a boldly flavoured vegan appetizer platter, complete with some spicy hummus, garlic olives, sesame crackers and a fiery guacamole. From there, you can go one of two directions:
Let the Pairings Commence!
We love the idea of having a “plates and pints” party with friends and family. Visit local craft breweries (Stonehooker is a great spot) to pick up an assortment of beers across a range of flavours, then whip up lots of delicious vegan eats (or pick them up from your local restaurants and grocery stores). Set your food and drinks out with notecards or labels that list details and ingredients, then let your guests have fun mixing and matching.
Keeping perfectly with the theme of mixing our vegan plates with our pints, Mississauga is hosting two amazing events this June: Mississauga Vegfest on June 25, and the Creative Craft Beer Festival on June 17 and 18 (see sidebars for information about both events).
You won’t want to miss either event—come out and try a new vegan food or taste some new brews. We hope to see you all there!