top of page

What is The Brewer's Table about?

I've been working in the beer industry for over 20 years but my passion for variety in beer probably started in 2003 when I had a bar with over 100 different beers. as someone who up to then had only really known lagers, basic ales and dry stouts, it was then that I realised just how broad and varied the spectrum of beer flavour really was. 

In 2007 I started work for Diageo, a global drinks business which manages Guinness amongst other beer and spirit brands and it was there that my first real journeys of food and beer began. Helping Guinness replace Murphy's stout at a huge oyster festival at Guy's Lodge in Garstang (Lancs) I continually asked the question why it was accepted that oysters and dry stout were a perfect match. The answer kept coming back that the bitterness of the stout worked with the salty brine in the oysters "but why"? I'd ask again. It seemed to be just accepted that was the case and there was no need to question it. I found this hugely frustrating as I wanted to explore more beer and food pairings but without the knowledge to do it myself I'd need to rely on being told what to pair and when. 

After 4-5 years at Diageo I joined a large Belgian brewery company called Duvel Moortgat who totally got beer and food and how satisfying it was. At the time they were working with the likes of Michel Roux jnr at La Gavroche in Mayfair (London) so I knew I was where I needed to be in terms of being surrounded by the people I'd need to ask my questions to. Even then, internally, I'd often be handed guides about what dishes to pair with what foods without the explanation of why, I was getting more info than i ever had but I was still not learning the theories about exactly why certain pairings would work. Within a few months I decided that there was nothing else for it but to do everything I could to learn this all for myself. I started to hold beer and cheese nights in bars and pubs and I with a little grasp of some basic principles I was pretty much winging it and was effectively learning on the job with the people I was 'guiding' through the pairings. What became clear was that different people loved different pairings more than the next but when someone got to a pairing that really clicked, you could literally see the penny drop and I knew we had a convert to using beer instead of wine or port as their drink of choice when selecting a cheese board for after a meal. I had one or two pairings that were absolute nailed on favourites such as Brie de Meaux and La Chouffe or Liefmans fruitesse with a young and creamy goats cheese. 

After these nights I gradually progressed to beer and food dinners with paying guests and again I was learning on the job but the fun, playful and entertaining aspects of beer and food were really beginning to shine. When compared to wine, beer simply has a far greater spectrum of flavours to play with. Starting at bitterness with beers fundamental flavouring ingredient, hops, show me a wine that can do even a fraction of what a great IPA can do and I'll grab my ball and go home. Then we have sweet flavours in beers such as big imperial stouts, earthy flavours from gruits or central European lager hops, smokey flavours from German smoked lagers, sour flavours being either acetic, acidic, delicate or a smack in the face. Funky flavours that develop over time with wild yeast just like a cave aged cheddar would or a 42 day, dry aged steak. Need more spice? beer can do that too.

This channel is all about highlighting the places that are offering something different and doing it with a great beer range to support it, all while giving you the tools to develop confidence in figuring out which pairings work for you.

Oh, and by the way, if I could go back to the 2007 me, I'd tell him that Guinness and oysters works because adding salt to bitterness surprises the bitterness slightly to allow sweetness to sing. The beer becomes different and more sweet which in turn plays with the oysters bringing out their sweeter character, then washed through with more salty brine water brings the refreshment. This process repeating of sweetness followed by refreshment is fun and very, very delicious.

bottom of page