Seeing as this is a blog intended to be a medium for me to harp on about beer and food while attempting to not to Homer-Simpson-dribble all over the keyboard, I thought it rather apt for my first real post to be on a book which kind of encompasses both aspects of what I’m passionate about.
Mark Dredge is one of my favourite beer writers at the moment. Through his books, his blog (Pencil and Spoon) and his slightly sickening social media output (while most of his followers are sat behind a desk at work, Mark’s Instagram documents his life traveling around the world visiting breweries and bars and eating various culinary delights) he has helped invigorate the craft beer community here in the UK.
His new book Beer and Food, released earlier this month, is an encyclopedic look at the relationship between the two. The book mainly focuses on trying to teach you what beers go with what food and how the different characteristics of beer can be matched correctly to bridge, balance or boost the food you eat. While it strives to keep things fairly straightforward for the beer pairing novices, it also goes into the intricate, almost scientific detail of how the specific elements of beer complement different ingredients.
Mark has clearly spent a lot of time selecting some of the best examples of beers from a huge array of styles and picked out the best dishes to serve with them. For example, I drink Stone and Wood Pacific Ale on a regular basis but would I have known that it goes really well with sea bass and sweetcorn salsa? Probably not. Would I now consider trying it? Absolutely.
I think the test of a decent beer book, is just how thirsty it makes you. If you find yourself having to put the book down because you simply cannot go on reading without your taste buds being quenched, then it’s on the right track. The thing about Beer and Food is that it hits you with a multitude of pangs. You find your mouth not only starts to dry up, but your belly starts rumbling too and soon enough you find yourself in Tesco at 10.30pm searching the freezer aisle to find the fish fingers, simply because you’ve been hit with the revelation that a fish finger sandwich apparently goes really well with a wheat beer.
I think what I enjoy most about the book however, is that it feels very much the start of something new, an increased consciousness on how beer is starting to be looked at in a different light, that and the fact it also offers an array of beer-orientated recipes which include shoving a can of Brewdog Punk IPA up a chicken’s jacksie. What more could you ask for?