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Pub snack pairing for beer & cider

You’ve likely paired beer or cider with food plenty of times already, even if you weren’t thinking specifically about which snack would go best with your pint. And with just a few basic tips and tricks, you can become adept at throwing pairings together at a moment’s notice. 

Hollie Stephens

Hollie is an award-winning freelance beer writer. She contributes to publications including Ferment, Brewer and Distiller International, and Pellicle. Follow her on Twitter at @GlobeHops.

Pub snack pairings for beer & cider

You’ve likely paired beer or cider with food plenty of times already, even if you weren’t thinking specifically about which snack would go best with your pint. And with just a few basic tips and tricks, you can become adept at throwing pairings together at a moment’s notice. 

Hollie Stephens

Award-winning beer writer contributing to Brewer & Distiller International and Pellicle.    @GlobeHops

Getting more mindful about pairing food with beer or cider might seem daunting if you haven’t tried it before, but it need not be. It all starts with experimenting to see what works best for your palate. And if you’re worried that you need a perfectly clean countertop and a ton of culinary prowess, I’ve got some great news for you: you can become better at crafting food and drink pairings without even setting foot in the kitchen. Yep, you read that right: getting started with appreciating great beer and cider pairings doesn’t even require you to cook. In fact, it’s as simple as taking a trip to the local. So, grab your jacket, leave the washing up for later, and let’s get started with exploring some basic pairings for cask ale and cider! 

Getting more mindful about pairing food with beer or cider might seem daunting if you haven’t tried it before, but it need not be. It all starts with experimenting to see what works best for your palate. And if you’re worried that you need a perfectly clean countertop and a ton of culinary prowess, I’ve got some great news for you: you can become better at crafting food and drink pairings without even setting foot in the kitchen. Yep, you read that right: getting started with appreciating great beer and cider pairings doesn’t even require you to cook. In fact, it’s as simple as taking a trip to the local. So, grab your jacket, leave the washing up for later, and let’s get started with exploring some basic pairings for cask ale and cider! 

Golden Ale and Scampi Fries

Acidity pairs perfectly with fat. It’s the reason that you might douse your bowl of chips with vinegar before tucking in, and why your battered fish often comes with a wedge of lemon on the side. And luckily, some acidity can be found in plenty of drinks, including ale. For a pint to pair with a packet of classic pub crisps such as Scampi Fries, I often choose a refreshing and sessionable beer. A light to mediumbodied golden ale is the ideal companion to salty snacks like crisps, providing a subtle and well-balanced bitterness to refresh the palate after each bite.

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“…you can become better at crafting food and drink pairings without even setting foot in the kitchen.

 Hollie Stephens

“…you can become better at crafting food and drink pairings without even setting foot in the kitchen.

 Hollie Stephens

Golden Ale and Scampi Fries

Acidity pairs perfectly with fat. It’s the reason that you might douse your bowl of chips with vinegar before tucking in, and why your battered fish often comes with a wedge of lemon on the side. And luckily, some acidity can be found in plenty of drinks, including ale. For a pint to pair with a packet of classic pub crisps such as Scampi Fries, I often choose a refreshing and sessionable beer. A light to mediumbodied golden ale is the ideal companion to salty snacks like crisps, providing a subtle and well-balanced bitterness to refresh the palate after each bite.

Porter and Spicy Chilli Crackers

Sweetness can help to balance spice, so if you like a bit of fire in your pub snacks, consider a pint that offers a hint of chocolate, like a porter. The roasty sweetness will contrast with the heat and might even seem to temper the spiciness! If you’ve ever enjoyed a bar of chilli chocolate, it’s a similar principle. You could also go for a dark ale with a subtle burnt caramel note alongside your fiery snacks for a lovely synergy of flavour.  

Porter and Spicy Chilli Crackers

Sweetness can help to balance spice, so if you like a bit of fire in your pub snacks, consider a pint that offers a hint of chocolate, like a porter. The roasty sweetness will contrast with the heat and might even seem to temper the spiciness! If you’ve ever enjoyed a bar of chilli chocolate, it’s a similar principle. You could also go for a dark ale with a subtle burnt caramel note alongside your fiery snacks for a lovely synergy of flavour.  

English IPA and Twiglets 

The rich umami flavour found in Twiglets isn’t for everyone. But if, like me, you’re a big fan of the savoury combination of wholewheat flour and yeast extract flavouring, then you’ll need a drink pairing that can stand up to it. An English IPA is, in my opinion, up to the task. The assertive bitterness and flavours from the hops will help an IPA to hold its own alongside the taste of Twiglets, and the dry finish will provide refreshment between bites.  

English IPA and Twiglets 

The rich umami flavour found in Twiglets isn’t for everyone. But if, like me, you’re a big fan of the savoury combination of wholewheat flour and yeast extract flavouring, then you’ll need a drink pairing that can stand up to it. An English IPA is, in my opinion, up to the task. The assertive bitterness and flavours from the hops will help an IPA to hold its own alongside the taste of Twiglets, and the dry finish will provide refreshment between bites.

Medium Dry Cider and a Sausage Roll

Pork and apple make for a classic pairing, so if you’re reaching for a meaty snack, consider a cask cider with spicy and barnyard notes instead of an ale. Remember that acidity and fat go well together? That’s what is at play here too, with the acidity from the apple cleansing the palate after each bite of pork 

Medium Dry Cider and a Sausage Roll

Pork and apple make for a classic pairing, so if you’re reaching for a meaty snack, consider a cask cider with spicy and barnyard notes instead of an ale. Remember that acidity and fat go well together? That’s what is at play here too, with the acidity from the apple cleansing the palate after each bite of pork 

Sweetness can help to balance spice, so if you like a bit of fire in your pub snacks, consider a pint that offers a hint of chocolate, like a porter.

 Hollie Stephens

Sweetness can help to balance spice, so if you like a bit of fire in your pub snacks, consider a pint that offers a hint of chocolate, like a porter.

 Hollie Stephens

Pale Ale and a Pork Pie 

If you’re not a cider fan, consider choosing an ale with gentle citrus notes to pair with pork. As with the cider pairing, the drink will perfectly cut through the sausage and pastry. Fattier meats can cloy the palate. A beer that is too full-bodied may not provide the refreshment you’re looking for, so opt for a lighter or mediumbodied beer alongside this snack. 

Pale Ale and a Pork Pie 

If you’re not a cider fan, consider choosing an ale with gentle citrus notes to pair with pork. As with the cider pairing, the drink will perfectly cut through the sausage and pastry. Fattier meats can cloy the palate. A beer that is too full-bodied may not provide the refreshment you’re looking for, so opt for a lighter or mediumbodied beer alongside this snack. 

Best Bitter and a Pickled Egg

Sometimes, the old-fashioned pub snacks are the best ones, and what better to enjoy alongside the well-loved pub pickled egg than a pint of bitter? With this pairing, the benefits of complementary taste notes are somewhat inverted since the food may be more acidic than the beer. The biscuity notes from the malt, along with subtle hints of fruitiness from yeast esters, will provide gentle balance to this classic pub nibble. 

Best Bitter and a Pickled Egg

Sometimes, the old-fashioned pub snacks are the best ones, and what better to enjoy alongside the well-loved pub pickled egg than a pint of bitter? With this pairing, the benefits of complementary taste notes are somewhat inverted since the food may be more acidic than the beer. The biscuity notes from the malt, along with subtle hints of fruitiness from yeast esters, will provide gentle balance to this classic pub nibble. 

There you have it: some simple beer and cider pairings for pub snacks to try the next time you’re in the pub. And remember, when it comes to pairing food and drink, there’s no wrong answers! Just go with your gut instinct and discover what works for you.  

There you have it: some simple beer and cider pairings for pub snacks to try the next time you’re in the pub. And remember, when it comes to pairing food and drink, there’s no wrong answers! Just go with your gut instinct and discover what works for you.  

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