It is hardly surprising that beer is the drink of choice in many countries around the world.

The question we asked ourselves is: Can beer, like wine, be paired successfully with dinner dishes and desserts? To help us answer that question, we invited Chris Russell, a third generation brewer and district sales manager of Yuengling Brewery in Asheville to be our guest for this column.

Would you describe this beer for our readers?

Chris Russell: This is typical Belgian white ale with a lot of yeast. It is deep amber in color, stout and has a touch of bitter in the end. It is made by Trappist Monks, one of only seven breweries in the world to have that distinction. As you see, it goes well with cheeses, ham, and anything sharp, including beef and lamb dishes.

Russell (brings out another beer): Try this one. This one has an entirely different taste.

CR: This light Lager amber beer accounts for 80% of Yuengling sales. It is what we call an everyday sipping beer, good with everything – nuts, olives, cheeseburgers, fries, even light pasta dishes. It’s crisp and clean and has a broad, sweet finish.

What are you serving today?

CR: For dinner this evening, we’ll be pairing a Light Lager, similar in taste to this one, with a tossed salad appetizer. And with the main course — grilled salmon fillets accompanied by a mushroom risotto — we’ll be sipping a Gaelic Ale from the Highland Brewing Company. The Gaelic is deep American Amber Ale with a rich malty body. It is exceptionally well-balanced between malt sweetness and delicate hop bitterness. It’s a great complement to the risotto and the salmon. And finally, for dessert, consisting of peach ice cream, we will try a Peche beer from Belgium – a Lambic Lindeman’s produced with the double brewing process that adds the fruit in the end. Dinner is ready, by the way.

Are these beers expensive?

CR: Pretty inexpensive. You can buy a six-pack of the Yuengling Traditional Lager or the Light Lager for about $6. The Gaelic Highland costs about the same. The Chimay Ale and the Lindeman’s Peche Lambic are the most expensive, perhaps. They cost around $8 a bottle.

Very affordable. (Sniffing the Peche).

Nice aroma.

CR: Aroma is the most important attribute of a beer. Flavor begins with aroma and is felt through the nose first. Let’s eat!

Until our next column, enjoy your travels with Aeropostal and wine or beer everywhere.


David Pereda