Set the scene: As dusk approaches, gather everyone outdoors (under a beautful oak tree, if you can) at a table set with candles and surrounded by hanging lanterns.
Serve: Robust dishes in keeping with the autumn season, and beers to match.
- Waldorf Salad
- Roasted Garlic and Sun-dried Tomato Cheese Spread
- Crab Salad
- Cassoulet with Bacon, Andouille, and Country Ribs
Chef Bob Waggoner, of Charleston Grill in Charleston, South Carolina, puts a Southern spin on the homey French country cassoulet by replacing the usual duck or goose confit with three varities of pork.
Try it with: Amber Oktoberfest-type lager
Like wine, beer can harmonize with food, making them both more enjoyable. Here are some tips for matchmaking success.
- Rather than red wine, try ale, which has similar traits-fuller, more complex flavors, with hops standing in for tannins.
- For white wine, substitute lager, which pairs well with poultry and fish. Lighter-bodies beers are generally a good choice for appetizers and lighter dishes.
- Seek hoppyness: Hops give beer a variety of floral and other notes and impart a palate-pleasing edge that goes well with spicy or creamy dishes but can overwhelm more delicate ones. A hoppy ale plays well against the richness of salmon.
- Complement flavors, matching sweet with sweet and tart with tart. A dry pale ale that pairs beautifully with a savory stew will clash with a dessert, but a sweeter, malty ale won't.
- Contrast flavors. A dry stout is a classic match for chocolate cake. A full-bodied ale is a natural fit for a grilled steak, but a good lager can be a crisp foil for those smoky, juicy flavors.