Allie Bobak / American Craft Beer International Correspondent
The Brewers Association has as its goal to support small and independent American craft brewers, and this includes making their voice heard all over the world. One spot the BA is focusing is in a nation known for drinking lots and lots of beer, the United Kingdom.
One way that US craft breweries are calling attention to their efforts in the competitive UK market, is by showcasing the art of beer and food pairings as they did in London recently.
And I, as ACB’s international correspondent, was invited to join the Brewers Association, and some of America’s most creative brewers, for an amazing lunch pairing full-flavored US craft beers with delicious seasonal food offerings from the UK.
This year’s Brewer’s Association pairing luncheon was held at BRAT an uber-hot new restaurant in East London that was recently featured in the New York Times. And the upscale yet informal venue was the perfect setting for a serious beer and open fire grilled cuisine overseen by BA executive chef Adam Dulye and BRAT’s own head chef Tomos Parry.
Beers from Virginia, to Kentucky, California to Hawaii, were paired with a variety of fresh local dishes, a transatlantic parade of complimentary flavors that never failed to surprise. And having grown up on American craft beer I couldn’t have been more impressed by the beers that the brewers tapped.
Luncheon highlights included the Whole Wild Turbot paired with the Big Swell IPA from Maui Brewing Company. Maui’s founder Garrett Marrero, who flew in from Hawaii to be part of this annual event, told me that they’d recently updated its recipe and the beer couldn’t have been fresher.
And the fine cut of Moorland Beef paired with Enlightened Despot Russian Imperial Stout from Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery in Virginia was pure bliss.
Of course you gotta have dessert, and we fell in love with the cheesecake and Berliner Weisse sour ale from West Sixth Brewing pairing. So basically, we loved the whole thing!
Although the UK is a smaller country (at least compared to the states) its craft beer and food sectors are increasingly attracting the world’s attention. But the US brewers’ innovation, variety, and passion clearly has a place in this country.
And it’s not just a one-way street, US brewers also see the exchange with the UK as a vital source of creativity and inspiration.
Many American brewers have cited the UK’s pub culture as the inspiration for US session beers, not just for their lower ABVs but also for the pub drinking experience itself, and how that unique UK experience sometimes tempers the beers they choose to produce…
The Brewers Association food and beer pairing luncheon made a strong argument for American craft beer’s place in the beer-rich UK (it’s the second only to Canada for US craft beer exports!). It also demonstrated that paired with the right UK artisan dishes …a great beer can taste even better.
Banner image credit: Brewers Association