There has been a bit of growth industry of late examining beer and food pairing. It is a very good thing (and I have certainly done my share of it). Most of it, I find, relates to common dishes – like steak, chicken and so forth – or applies to cuisine regions (Thai, Indian, etc.).
A couple weeks ago, my editor at Vue Weekly informed me that my latest column fell on a special issue about soup. A number of articles would look at soup – good soup restaurants, soup recipes, etc. He wanted a column from me about soup. The natural choice seemed to be to talk about pairing beer and soup, with a side of beer in soup. And that is exactly what I did, which you can read here .
Mostly I stick to the classics. Pairing a hearty beef soup with a stout, chicken soup with an amber or brown ale, hefeweizen with minestrone, and a pilsner with a spicy Thai Pho. All pairings that make natural sense. But then I talk about some of my favourite beer soups, which inevitably include cheese. I am convinced that cheese soup is ideal for pairing with beer. And, conversely, you should never make cheese soup without including an appropriate beer as part of the recipe. It may be one singular way that beer clearly surpasses wine. I simply don’t believe that adding wine to a cheese soup would enhance the flavour. But beer in that same soup? Marvelous.
I think beer people should take on the beer and soup challenge. Soup is a very comforting and warming meal. And wine people have, for the most part, ignored it as a dish for pairing. So I think we should claim it as our own. Make pairing soup with beer the natural thing to do.
Have any favourite beer and soup pairings? Let me know. Maybe we can make a second column out of your suggestions.