Pairing Cask Fresh with Food

Pub lunch? Then it’s time to match your pint to your plate

By Juliette Wills

Wine sommeliers are a familiar sight in a decent restaurant, but when’s the last time someone talked you through the beers they serve? Other than reeling off the names of them, it’s rare to find anyone who can tell you what those beers taste like, and more importantly, which beers work with the food you’re about to order. If you’re lucky enough to find decent food alongside a range of cask fresh beers, don’t be afraid to spend a bit of time at the bar before going to your table, and ask your friendly publican’s advice. If they’re serving cask, they love cask. And if they love cask, they’ll understand cask and will be able to recommend certain casks depending on what you order.

Cask fresh beers work really well with food. If you usually ask for wine with dinner, go out on a limb and order a cask beer instead. Carbonated beers really bring out the heat in spicy dishes, but cask brings a whole different taste experience because the bitter notes in them often balance out the heat. There’s a reason we choose beer over wine with a curry or a Chinese; choose a cask fresh beer – try a citrus-based hop - and you’ll really notice how it complements your food. When paired with salty or fatty food, such as a pizza or fish and chips, fresh cask cuts through the grease and make the whole experience a little lighter. A lemony cask also compliments classic French dish, moules marinière, working in tandem with the delicate flavour of the mussels whilst cutting through the cream and side order of fries.

If you’re a fan of amber ales or stout, you’ll be pleased to know that dark, malty beers go well with cheese, so the next time you order the cheeseboard or the ploughman’s, try a dark cask over red wine and notice how the cask brings out the flavours, rather than suffocates them like a too-strong red can. Stouts also work well with your classic Sunday lunch, especially roast beef. Meanwhile, a juicy steak can take on an amber cask and do it proudly.

Dark beer with ribs


Essentially, the lighter your dish, the lighter the cask. Ordering spaghetti carbonara or the buttermilk chicken? Get yourself a golden cask. The kings of bar snacks, Scotch eggs or pork pies, cry out for a pale or blonde cask, again due to the way lighter hops cut through the fat.

pizza and cask

If you’re vegetarian, nut roasts or mushroom dishes work in tandem with an earthy, slightly herbal cask. This is where your fruity beers come into play.

Moving on to dessert, you can keep that cask train running. Stout works wonderfully with heavy, creamy desserts such as crème brulee or cheesecake. You’ll pick up hints of chocolate and coffee and wonder why you’ve never thought of this before.

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