6 delicious ways to match beer and food - Northern Monk Style

Beer’s versatility and sheer deliciousness make it perfect for matching with food, whether a laid-back katsu curry with friends or a traditional ploughman’s lunch. Thom Buzzard investigates the food-matching potential of our Northern Monk beer range.

You might think that food and wine matching is a mysterious and complicated skill, reserved for top sommeliers or TV wine buffs, but the truth is that cracking the basics of wine pairing has never been easier (check out our Food and Wine matcher for a great starter tool, whether you're searching for a foodie pairing for a midweek tipple or something fancier for a weekend dinner party).

If wine and food matching seems inaccessible to the outsider, then beer adds a new layer of mystery to the gastronomic equation; rarely mentioned, it's easy to imagine recipes and tips being swapped in hushed tones in the confines of garden sheds as home brews bubble away, the aroma of yeast filling the air.

6 delicious ways to match beer and wine - Northern Monk Style

But if you cut beer from the food matching equation then you'd be seriously missing out. From the humble two pints of lager and a packet of crisps to a Friday night curry, beer is as capable as its vinous cousin when it comes to heading up the dinner table.

Leeds-based craft brewer Northern Monk have taken the concept a step further than most, opening a kitchen in their tap room and creating dishes with an international flavour to show the food-matching potential of their eclectic and ever changing range, and inviting local chefs to champion their beers' diversity. In this spirit, we've come up with some lip-smacking suggestions of our own; read on for some weekend culinary inspiration.

Bombay Dazzler Indian Spiced Witbier, Northern Monk Brew Co Leeds (4.1%, 33cl)

Bombay Dazzler Indian Spiced Wit, Northern Monk Brew Co, Leeds (4.8%, 330ml)

The beer: A delicious, spicy Anglo-Indian collaboration between Northern Monk and Mumbai's Gateway Brewing Co.

Food: The coriander, ginger and cardamom aromas here make this a natural match for Indian food, as the acidity cuts through the richness and spice. Try with crispy samosas with a spicy vegetable filling, lemon-and-herb roasted chicken or tandoori spiced salmon.

Eternal Session IPA, Northern Monk Brew Co Leeds (4.1%, 33cl)

Eternal Session IPA, Northern Monk Brew Co, Leeds (4.1%, 330ml)

The beer: Offering both the sessionability of a classic English pale ale and the full flavour of simcoe and centennial hops, this is the perfect session IPA for any occasion. Solid and refined, a touch of tangerine on the nose turns to lime on the finish.

Food: Light in body, and with a refreshing kick of mandarin and citrus and a twist of lemon, this is perfect with a korma or other coconut-based curries, lemon chicken, Japanese katsu curry or a platter of Greek meze.

New World IPA, Northern Monk Brew Co Leeds (6.2%, 33cl)

New World IPA, Northern Monk Brew Co, Leeds (6.2%, 330ml)

The beer: A complex, full-bodied IPA with the subtle sweetness of British pale malts, balanced by a sturdy presence of hops bitterness.

Food: A simple pan-seared beef steak with thick home-cut chips is the perfect accompaniment, but a rich chili con carne (beef or vegetable) or subtly spiced lentil dhal would also get a fresh lease of life alongside this beer's sweet malty tastes.

Northern Star Mocha Porter, Northern Monk Brew Co Leeds (5.9%, 33cl)

Northern Star Mocha Porter, Northern Monk Brew Co, Leeds (5.9%, 330ml)

The beer: A smooth, dark beer created in collaboration with North Star Coffee Roasters. A long night can call for a coffee the morning after, but combining the joys of both makes for a drink so much greater than the sum of its parts.

Food: Slightly chilled, this beer takes on a creamy sweetness that perfectly balances the bitterness of slow-cooked beef chilli con carne with caramelised onions and bitter dark chocolate. It would also be a match with the cheeseboard, particularly creamy goat's cheese or melted camembert. For a summer tipple, this is a more unusual accompaniment for an evening BBQ – the smoky flavours, seasoning and sticky sauces are pulled together brilliantly alongside a can of this porter.

Heathen IPA, Northern Monk Brew Co Leeds (7.4%, 44cl)

Heathen IPA, Northern Monk Brew Co, Leeds (7.2%, 440ml)

The beer: Big, juicy, tasty, fruity… and did I mention tasty? There's no holding back on the flavour here and it lingers longer than that friend who always stays for 'just one more drink.'

Food: This beer has plenty of flavour and will stand up to the boldest of dishes. Pair it with bubble and squeak with plenty of onions, a traditional ploughman's, pork pie and pickles, mussels or smoked haddock. The beer's zingy and herbal flavours will out-live them all.

Faith Pale Ale, Northern Monk Brew Co Leeds (5.1%, 44cl)

Faith Pale Ale, Northern Monk Brew Co, Leeds (5.1%, 440ml)

The beer: The delightfully juicy and easy-drinking pale ale is the 'good twin' to Northern Monk's Heathen IPA. A more innocent brew, and a crowd-pleaser.

Food: A good 'all-rounder', this fruity, citrus-packed and pine-scented beer acts as a squeeze of lemon or pinch of lemongrass when drunk alongside the likes of barbecued or tandoori prawns, chicken Caesar salad, Thai green curry or a lightly spiced fish curry.

If you're in the area, pull up a chair to experience the tap room in all its glory, or recreate this from the comfort of your own kitchen with our new mixed case.

Thom Buzzard - Member Services Adviser
August 2017

Members' Comments (2)

"I must be getting old, I though a decent session beer was sub 4%. Any chance they make good old fashioned bitter?"

Mr Eamonn Keane (11-Aug-2017)

"Dear Mr Keane, Thank you for your comment. The term “session beer” is one which doesn’t actually have a specific meaning and is instead down to the brewer to decide. While you quite rightly say that 4% has been considered a common top-limit, depending on where/who you ask, many people will also say 4.5% is considered the cap. All of this aside though, you do occasionally see beers labelled as “session” although they are in the region of... Read more > 5% abv, especially if it’s a beer from a brewery who usually brew stronger beers as standard, since they would then consider 5% to be comparatively low. Really though, “session beer” means nothing and the best thing to do is to look at the abv% alone, or savour half pints rather than pints! Northern Monk are a progressive brewery who use only the best ingredients available in order to make the best and most delicious beers that they can. As a brewery, they aren’t overly concerned about abv% being too high or too low, provided that it is perfectly balanced with the other flavour components of the beer. The aim of the game is to pack as much depth, complexity and concentration of flavour into the can as possible. I would recommend looking at our Guest Ales mixed selection which you will find on our website, along with a handful of delicious traditional ales. Cheers!"

Freddy (Society Beer Buyer) (15-Aug-2017)