ONTARIO CRAFT BEER TASTING and PAIRING GUIDE
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ONTARIO CRAFT BEER MOVEMENT

THE PLEASURES OF FOOD AND DRINK ARE SUPPORTED BY LONG TRADITIONS OF SKILL AND KNOWLEDGE, BUT SOMETHING NEW IS HAPPENING...

THE ONTARIO CRAFT BEER (OCB) MOVEMENT IS FOCUSED UPON LOCAL AND SUSTAINABLE PRODUCTION AND CONSUMPTION. AT THE SAME TIME, WE ARE INCREASINGLY CURIOUS ABOUT NEW INGREDIENTS AND COMBINATIONS.


CHEERS TO ONTARIO CRAFT BEER AND GREAT FOOD!

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IMAGINE POURING A PINT OF YOUR FAVORITE CRAFT BEER. The smell of hops waft upward as the evenly carbonated suds flood the glass, eventually settling with a resilient head. The educated craft beer enthusiast will be the first to point out that like wine, beer is only as good as the vessel in which it is served. When both form and function are considered, choosing the right glassware can elevate the drinking experience.

Shaker
Tulip
Nonic Pint
Tumbler
Pilsner
A FEW FOOD PAIRING TIPS

FIRST! DRINK WHAT YOU LIKE ‐ If you love pale ale, you'll probably like it with anything you eat. And you know what? There's nothing wrong with that. Experiment... there are no wrong answers.

Generally, the more hop bitterness the beer has, the heartier or livelier the meal needs to be to provide balance to the meal.

Another general rule is keep sweet with sweet, and tart with tart. Try to keep your beer sweeter or tarter than the sweet or tart food on the plate. There are exceptions, like pairing drier robust beers with sweet chocolates.

Throw all of the rules out the window and experiment with contrasting and complimentary pairings. Match foods with complimentary flavours, or try contrasting them and create a slew of unique results.

Taste is very subjective and what works for one person might not work for another. If it tastes good to you, then go for it. However, also be open to suggestions, as these tend to come with some knowledge and possible palate enlightenment.

OCB BEER STYLES IDEAL FOOD MATCHES

ALE ‐ Pair with: Burgers; buffalo wings; Asian food; Mexican food; spicy food; nutty food; fried food; pizza; steaks; cheddar, parmesan, or romano cheeses.

BOCK BEER ‐ Pair with: Gruyère, emmental, and Swiss cheeses; cajun food; jerk chicken; beef; sausage; seared foods.

FRUIT BEER/LAMBIC ‐ Pair with: Mascarpone cheese; light white meat; foods driven by herbs and spices; duck and pork dishes with sweet components (avoid very tart lambics); pickled dishes (great with tart lambics); salads with fruity dressings; fruity desserts.

LAGER ‐ Pair with: Shellfish; light seafood; sushi; grilled pork and chicken; not-too-heavy pasta dishes (without cream or meat sauces); Southeast Asian food; Latin food; Mexican food; spicy food.

PILSNER ‐ Pair with: American cheese; muenster, havarti, and monterey jack cheeses; salads; light seafood; salmon; tuna; trout; asparagus; Asian food; Mexican food; spicy food.

PORTER ‐ Pair with: Smoked foods; barbecue; sausage; rich stews; meats; bacon; chili; braised dishes.

STOUT ‐ Pair with: Roasted foods; smoked foods; barbecued/grilled foods; salty foods; oysters; rich stews; braised dishes; chocolate; desserts (ideally the beer is sweeter than the dish).

WHEAT BEER/ HEFEWEIZEN ‐ Pair with: Light soups and salads; vegetarian dishes; sushi; gruyère cheese and feta/goat cheese; sweet and fruity Asian dishes; citrus-flavoured dishes, including dessert and salad dressings.

PROSCIUTTO AND PEACH FLATBREADS WITH GOAT CHEESE AND FRESH SPROUTS

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE CRUST:
  • 1 ¾ cups flour
  • 1 envelope yeast
  • 1 tsp white sugar
  • ½ tsp garlic salt
  • ⅔ cup malty beer (brown ale, beligan ale, etc)
The Perfect Couple
FOR THE TOPPINGS:
  • 113 g goat cheese, broken into chunks
  • 1 cup mozzarella, shredded
  • 5 slices Prosciutto
  • 2 peaches, sliced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 1 cup fresh sprouts

THIS DISH PAIRS PERFECTLY WITH YOUR FAVOURITE CRAFT LAGER

STEPS

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment, add the flour, yeast, sugar and garlic salt. Mix until combined.

In a microwave safe bowl add the beer. Microwave on high for 20 seconds, test temperature with a cooking thermometer and repeat until temperature reaches between 120 and 125 degrees Fahrenheit.

Add the beer to the stand mixer and mix on medium speed until most of the flour has been moistened. Turn speed to high and beat until dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.

Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl, tightly wrap with plastic wrap. Allow to sit in a warm room until doubled in size, about 45 to 60 minutes (while the dough rises, start the onions). Remove from bowl and add to a lightly floured surface. Knead several times, cut into 6 equal sized pieces. One at a time form the dough into 6 inch circles. Place on a baking sheet that has been covered with parchment paper.

While the dough is rising, shred the cheese and slice the peaches.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.


For more recipes, visit: ontariocraftbrewers.com/recipes.php.

BEEF TACOS PAIRED WITH LAGER
SERVINGS ‐ 4
YIELD ‐ 8 tacos
PREP TIME ‐ 35 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 lb boneless beef or short ribs
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 corn tortillas, warmed (for serving)
  • 2 avocados, cut into chunks
  • charred tomatillo salsa verde (for serving)
  • cilantro sprigs, and lime wedges (for serving)
The Perfect Couple

PREPARATION

Prepare grill for medium-high heat. Toss onion, beef, oil, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl.

Grill onion and beef in a grill basket, until cooked through and lightly charred, about 4 minutes per side.

Let beef rest 5 minutes before serving with tortillas, avocados, charred tomatillo salsa verde, cilantro, and lime wedges.


For more recipes, visit: ontariocraftbrewers.com/recipes.php.

ULTIMATE CHOCOLATE COOKIES
SERVES ‐ 1-24
PREP TIME ‐ 20 minutes
COOK TIME ‐ 17 mins

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 oz Stout
  • 1 stick of salted butter, softened
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 tbsp black cocoa
  • ½ tbsp salt
  • ½ tbsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 ½ cups chocolate chips
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp molasses
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg

STEPS

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powders, salt, baking soda, bakingpowder and chocolate chips.

In a larger bowl mix the butter with the sugars until light and fluffy.

Add the molasses, vanilla and egg and mix well.

Alternate the flour and the beer with the egg mixture until combined.

The Perfect Couple

Chill the dough for about 30 minutes, or until it has firmed up enough to scoop out cookies.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.

Bake for 16-18 minutes or until the top springs back when lightly touched.

Cool completely, then enjoy!


For more recipes, visit: ontariocraftbrewers.com/recipes.php.

BACON POPPERS
SERVES ‐ 4-5
PREP TIME ‐ 20 minutes
COOK TIME ‐ 10-20 mins

INGREDIENTS

  • 12 fresh jalapeño peppers
  • 8 oz of cream cheese
  • 12 pieces of sliced bacon, cut in half

STEPS

The Perfect Couple

Cut jalapeños in half and remove seeds and veins. (Use gloves to work with peppers.)

Fill jalapeños with cream cheese and wrap a half slice of bacon around each. (If necessary, secure with a toothpick.)

Bake in oven or BBQ at 425 degrees until bacon is done.

Enjoy this perfect pairing - a spicy and savoury appetizer with your favourite IPA!


For more recipes, visit: ontariocraftbrewers.com/recipes.php.

HOW TO BUILD A CHARCUTERIE BOARD LIKE A PRO

Buy some salamis, pâtés, cured hams, and cheeses (readily available in gourmet stores, butcher shops, and even regular grocery stores these days) and make a charcuterie board in less than ten minutes.

MIX UP THE TEXTURES

A hard salami, and then something kind of soft and decadent like a pâté, something tangy like a more sour sausage, and then something warm. So crisp up a big sausage. Have only one element of smoke ‐ because if you eat smoked meat after smoked meat, it all kind of just tastes like smoke ‐ try a smoked ham or a piece of smoked kielbasa.

ABOUT THAT CHEESE

With cheese, maintain a texture difference with the charcuterie. So pick semi-soft cheeses, a triple cream, a aged cheese, and something with a blue cheese mold, something funky.

GARNISHES AND CONDIMENTS
COMPLETE THE PICTURE

A fresh salad with lemon, maybe some pistachios. Olives of course. Nuts for crunch. Mustard is always good with fatty sausage. And pickles. Once you've gotten halfway through your meal and you're still hungry and you've sampled amazing beers, take a couple bites of crunchy sour pickles, then you're back at it.

KEEP IT SIMPLE ON THE SIDE

Serve with baguettes, rye crackers or unicorn toasts or whatever. It should be just simple stuff. If you have stale bread, you may toast it up with olive oil to serve with soft things, like a liver mousse or rillette. And then with pâté and salami, a baguette.

GET SLICING

A good rule to remember with salami: slice it cold, serve it at room temp. Slice salami the thickness of a quarter on the bias, because it's prettier. Salami will often say on the label whether or not you should remove the casing ‐ you don't need to with salami. For ham and stuff like that, just slice it as thin as possible.

WHAT BEER TO DRINK

Try with a variety of Ontario Craft Beer styles!

FINISH IT OFF

Drizzle olive oil over the pâtés and spreadables, and put black pepper on 'em. And then crunchy salt, always. Just that little bit of texture makes it that much better.

charcuterie board Italian Dry Sausage Mixed Salted Nuts Italian Sausage Italian Parmigiano Chorizo Coins Prosciutto di Parma Old Style Dijon Mustard Mixed Peppered Olives Hummus Tangy Pickles Fig Chutney Artisan Whole Grain Bread Manchego PDO Reserve Italian Salame DOP Crispy Rice Crackers Double Dream Brie

For more great suggestions, visit: ontariocraftbrewers.com

HOW TO HOST A BEER TASTING PARTY

CHOOSING A BEER SELECTION

First, think about how adventurous your guests are, pick a variety of milder beers to stronger ones.

GLASSWARE

It's suggested to use the appropriate glassware that pairs well with each beer. However, if you don't have the appropriate glassware handy for your tasting (or you're serving many people) wine glasses will do just fine.

SERVING BEER

Remove the beers from the fridge at the start of the tasting and allow the darker ones to warm up slightly in order to fully experience their flavours.

ENCOURAGE DISCUSSION

This can be a fun experience for you and your guests! After tasting each beer, reflect on how the beer feels while drinking it and what flavours are pronounced.

WHY POUR MATTERS

Use a clean glass‐be sure to rinse out each glass thoroughly because the previous beer may affect the new beer's flavour or head foam formation.

Hold your glass at a 45-degree angle when pouring the beer.

At the halfway point of the pour, bring your glass at a 90 degree angle and continue to pour the beer in the middle of the glass - this will induce the perfect foam head.

SMALL BITES

No party would be complete without small bites for your guests to snack on while tasting the selection of beers. You'll want to provide a light spread of food for your guests to eat in between beers‐this will help cleanse their palette (and help with alcohol absorption).

CHARCUTERIE AND CHEESE SPREAD:
  • Cold cut meats like salami or prosciutto
  • Cubes of cheese such as sharp cheddar, gouda or Swiss
  • Mixed nuts
  • Multigrain crackers with a spread of soft/creamy brie cheese and fig jam
WHY HOST A BEER TASTING PARTY

TASTING

Look at your beer - notice its colour, head, and consistency.

Agitate or swirl your beer in the glass.

Smell your beer. Take two quick sniffs and reflect on your beer's aroma. Pay attention to the aromas and its consistency.

Slowly taste the beer by taking a sip and letting the beer sit in your mouth. Note the beer's body and overall taste.

Swallow the beer and take note of the mouth feel and lingering flavours and tastes.

Try your beer again after it's warmed up a little to note any taste or aroma differences.

RESPONSIBLE USE ‐ as a host you have an obligation to ensure that your guests drink responsibly.

The Perfect Couple Enjoy your beer in the correct glassware - it's visually pleasing and will enhance the flavor. Drink your beer flight or sampler by starting with the lightest, moving on to heavier and stronger beers. Enjoy your beer at the correct temperature! Chill your beer to 3° to 5° C - cool enough to be refreshing, but no cold that the nuances of flavour are supressed. A stemmed glass keeps your hand from warming the beer.

BEER STYLES

BELGIAN AND BELGIAN INSPIRED ‐ Belgian beers run a wide gamut, but are easy to drink. Some beers have more of a wild taste, while others are very smooth, but one common characteristic is flavour imparted by yeast.

BROWNS AND MILDS ‐ Brown ales have a bit of toasted malt that makes them have hints of chocolate and caramel. Hops character is gentle and complimentary. These aren't very dark beers like stouts or porters, but are a delicious way to dip your toe in the river of dark beers.

FRUIT, HERB, AND SPICE ‐ Brewed with fruit, herbs, and spices, of course. This is a great choice if you are new to beer and enjoy wine or other bold flavours.

HOPPY AND HOP FORWARD ‐ These beers are often refreshing. Hop levels vary, which make some more bitter or give them a definite bite at the end. Since hops have their own aromas and flavours, no two hoppy beers are alike and you will find some varieties more pleasing than others.

ODDBALL/ UNCATEGORIZED ‐ Sometimes a beer defies convention. When it does, surprise yourself!

NO WORRIES WE'VE GOT YOUR BACK

PILSNERS & LAGERS ‐ Craft brewed lagers and pilsners can be very tasty. These beers use yeast that ferments at a lower temperature and, generally speaking, leaves less taste, allowing the hops and malt to shine!

STRONG ALES, OLD ALES, AND BARLEY WINES ‐ These are big beers, but some lagers and even IPA's can be dark so remember not all dark beers taste the same. Stouts and porters can be dry or a little thick but can have wonderful coffee, chocolate, and caramel flavours due to the use of roasted and caramelized malt. They can even be aged in bourbon or other barrels. Best shared in front of the fire with your honey, a friend... or even a good book!

WHEATS AND WEIZENS ‐ Just like the name implies, these beers are brewed with wheat, which gives a unique light and refreshing taste. Wheat usually brings out a sweeter flavour with less hop bite at the end, but there are some wheat beers that are hoppy.

BEER TERMINOLOGY 101
color palette

SOURS AND LAMBICS ‐ Sour beers can be mild to extreme! Some have fruit, and many are blended from wooden barrels. While authentic sours and lambics can be "advanced" level beers, there are also sweetened lambics.

STOUTS AND PORTERS ‐ These beers, but some lagers and even IPA's can be dark so remember not all dark beers taste the same. Stouts and porters can be dry or a little thick but can have wonderful coffee, chocolate, and caramel flavours due to the use of roasted and caramelized malt. They can even be aged in bourbon or other barrels.

IN THE KNOW

ABV ‐ Alcohol by Volume ‐ the higher the percentage, the faster you will feel the effects of the alcohol.

ALE ‐ An ale is any beer that uses yeast that ferments at a high temperature (top fermenting). Sometimes people interchange "ale" and "beer" but an ale is a type of beer.

BARREL ‐ A barrel can be a measurement ‐ as in a container of beer equal to 31 gallons. Also, a barrel can be a spirit or wine vessel (wooden) that a beer is aged in to get flavours from the wood and whatever was inside previously.

BARREL AGED ‐ Stouts and porters can be found with a label depicting that they were barrel aged. Barrel aged beers are brewed normally but then stored in barrels that had previously held spirits or wines for various lengths of time, making these beers taste so yummy. Since barrel aged beers take longer to brew, these are often limited releases.

BOMBER ‐ 650 mL bottle of beer ‐ Many varieties of beer are sold in 354 mL bottles and in your standard 6-pack. Some beers are only sold in a 650 mL size. This has been coined a "bomber".

BREWPUB ‐ A restaurant that brews and serves its own beers on premises. We like brewpubs for fresh beer and great food!

CARBON DIOXIDE ‐ A gas created from the fermentation process. Carbon dioxide gives beer its carbonation. As the yeast eats the sugars in the wort, it creates C02 and alcohol! That's right, little micro-organisms are one of the reasons beer makes us all so happy!

CASK ‐ A vessel used for fermenting and serving beer. They used to be made of wood, but now most are made of stainless steel or aluminum. They are used for cask-conditioned ales, which naturally carbonate.

COLLABORATION BEERS ‐ Often times different brewing companies get together to create a beer. These are called collaboration beers. The breweries decide the style, name, ABV, etc. In some instances the beer is sold by all of the brewers involved. The beer may even be slightly different because instead of truly brewing together, they create a recipe together and then replicate it at each brewery. Tiny differences in the brewing process affect the overall taste.

CRAFT BEER ‐ A beer made in a traditional or non-mechanized way by a small brewery. Trying to define craft beer is a difficult task, as beer can be very subjective and a personal experience. To make a true craft beer definition even more difficult, each individual beer brand is one of a kind.

CRAFT BREWERY ‐ According to Ontario Craft Brewers, a craft brewer is defined as a small, independently-owned (under 400,000 hl), that is not significantly controlled by a beer company who does not qualify as an Ontario Craft Brewers. Or, it may be traditional, brewing traditional and innovative beers according to the Ontario Craft Brewers Brewing Philosophy.

HOPS ‐ The green cone-shaped flowers fused to add flavour and aromatics as well as bitter to beer. All beer, by definition, has some hops (with a few exceptions, like gruits). But the extent to which the hops are added can change the taste considerably. Hops added early on in the brewing process (boil) give beer bitterness, while hops added towards the end give more flavour and aroma.

IBU ‐ International Bitter Units ‐ this number refers to the hoppiness of the beer. The higher the number, the more the hops taste comes through (usually). There's a ceiling to how much bitterness we can taste, but some brewers claim beers with 1000 IBU's! To compare, some light lagers have 8 IBU's. Every beer has an IBU count. Sometimes a high IBU is counteracted by a high malt presence and the resulting beer is not as bitter as suggested by the percentage. This is especially true in Double IPAs.

IPA ‐ India Pale Ale ‐ these beers are often light in color but tend to be bitter or hoppy in nature. When ordering an IPA, make sure to check the IBU level. That number will help you determine whether the beer will be a more mellow bitter or a flavour popping bitter.

LAGER - A lager is a beer that uses yeast that ferments at a lower temperature (bottom fermenting). Unlike ales, which ferment at higher temperatures, lagers tend to have little to no yeast taste and are very crisp and clean tasting!

MALT ‐ Barley which has been placed in a kiln to make it dry and ready for beer. Malt, hops and yeast give beer its flavours.

ONE-OFF ‐ A rare and hard-to-get beer produced for a specific season or occasion.

REINHEITSGEBOT ‐ The German beer purity law of 1516 that states that beer shall only be made with grain, hops, yeast and water.

SESSION ALE ‐ A beer with lower Alcohol by Volume (ABV). Traditionally, session beers have not had less than 4% ABV but some people use the term to mean a beer you can drink a lot of.

STOUT ‐ Stout is a dark beer made using roasted malt or roasted barley, hops, water and yeast. Stouts were traditionally the generic term for the strongest or stoutest porters, typically 7% or 8% ABV, produced by a brewery.

TRAPPIST - Trappist beers are brewed in monasteries by or under control of Trappist-Cistercian monks. Trappist beer bottles will display the "Authentic Trappist Product" logo.

UNFILTERED ‐ Beer that doesn't have any use of filters, which remove yeast and make the beer clear. But beware, just because a beer is clear doesn't mean it's filtered ‐ some yeast "drops out" by itself.