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More Adventures with Beer and Food

Michael Marsh
Posted: June 28, 2007

(continued from page 1)

In the end, the pairings were fantastic, but begged the question: why has the concept of food and beer suddenly become the foremost topic in the beer industry at the moment? Oliver offers an excellent answer.

Panna cotta made with low-alcohol ginger brew and paired with Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout.
As he sees it, today's beer drinker is very similar to a wine connoisseur or a cigar lover. Not only is he educating himself about beer and the brewing process, he is actively seeking out different styles and flavor profiles and pursuing the endless possibilities of pairing beer with food. Instead of the meat-and-potatoes mind-set that followed Prohibition and lasted into the 1980s, beer drinkers now want quality craftsmanship; they want choices and new experiences. Why eat Wonder Bread your whole life, Oliver asks, when so many other fabulous breads exist? Today, there are more than 1,400 breweries in the United States alone and, while the growth of premium beers from big domestic brewers has stagnated in recent years, craft beers and imports have seen double-digit increases.

"It's an exciting time to be a beer drinker in the United States," says Oliver, recalling the golden age of American beer brewing when, in the early part of the twentieth century, thousands of breweries dotted the American landscape. "People are realizing that it's weird to have only one type of beer and so are rediscovering beer culture. It's the new affordable luxury."

And one that more and more people are finding does just as well with food as wine does.

 

 


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