Wining and fine dining have always gone hand in hand.
Though what tipple you put with what dish is a long-argued matter of taste.
Certainly what no traditional gastronome worth his Maldon sea salt ever decreed, though, was supping a pint of ale or stout alongside a plate of anything but pie and chips or a pub sandwich.
But beer, the nation’s home drink, is now being ’aled as a surprisingly good partner for fine food.
Who says so? Only one of Sheffield’s most respected chefs, Richard Smith.
The owner of Artisan, the Michelin Bib Gourmand-rated restaurant in Crosspool, is so convinced that a good beer is the perfect accompaniment to posh nosh, he’s produced a cookery book about it. The glossy book, packed with colour pictures, recipes and tips, marries a host of dishes created by Richard with beers from local success story Thornbridge Brewery.
Brewery bosses and Richard are partners in the local BrewKitchen pub chain, so Richard knows from first-hand experience that what particular dishes and pints go down perfectly together.
The £14.95 tome Craft Union – Matching Beer with Food also takes readers on Thornbridge’s journey from fledgling start-up to an award-winning brewery with a worldwide reputation.
“The way beer is brewed means it has infinite possibilities and flavour characteristics. There’s a beer to go with every type of food - from curries, to Sunday lunch and even desserts,” says Simon Webster, Thornbridge’s Chief Operating Officer
“Pairing beer with food is often overlooked, though. The rise in demand for wine coincided with a time when there wasn’t a great variety of quality beer available in the UK. “This is changing now with a much more exciting, diverse selection of beers available from both UK and international craft breweries.”
Craft Union’s recipe chapters focus on seafood, locally-sourced foods served at Sheffield’s Cricket Inn and food grown at Thornbridge Hall itself.
Guest recipes from award-winning beer writers are also included, as well as an introduction to matching food and beer by expert and Master Brewer Alex Barlow.
The book is available online at BrewKitchen restaurants around Sheffield, from Thornbridge tap pubs and from www.thornbridgebrewery.co.uk
Tasty uses for your leftovers
Scores of delectable dishes are paired with pints in the cookery book, but as the ingredients most families have a huge abundance of right now are Christmas dinner leftovers, we asked award-winning chef Richard Smith to come up with some tasty ways for Star readers to use them up - and suggest Thornbridge beers to wash them down:
Make a turkey hash cake by mixing together meat and mashed potato. Stir fresh herbs through the mix and fry it lightly in butter until golden and crisp on the outside. Top with a poached egg and some crumbled Stilton.
Team with: Thornbridge Wild Swan (White Gold Pale Ale, 3.5%)
Pigs in blankets:
Glaze with honey and put into a wok with leftover dinner vegetables and fry lightly. Serve with turkey gravy with a dash of Henderson’s added, plus a dollop of grain mustard.
Team with: Thornbridge Lord Marples (Classic British Bitter, 4.0%)
Deep-fry the outer leaves in oil until crispy. Add grated Parmesan, shred the rest of the sprouts and stir-fry with bacon bits, chilli and chestnuts.
Team with: Thornbridge Jaipur (India Pale Ale, 5.9%)